Fans, Shoes, and the Colors of Sony Open Tennis

Key Biscayne, Fla. — Purple courts and umbrellas. Ball girls wearing electric orange-sicle dresses by FILA. Deep blue shorts for the ball boys, also from FILA. These are a few colors of Sony Open Tennis. They mirror the sun and sea that skirt Key Biscayne and perfectly reflect the atmosphere of the tournament. 

A touch over 16,000 fans walked through the gates of Crandon Park yesterday, entering a world of pro tennis that many had never witnessed. For such a large crowd, they were subdued.

"I've never been here," the man said to the woman next to him with not a lick of enthusiasm. "It's done well."

Another walked against the flow of folks, murmuring, "Tickets, tickets, anyone want tickets?" He kept his head down.

People were dressed casually and wore an array of basketball shoes, high-heeled sneakers, fashionable sandals, flats, and those low-impact hiking shoes with holes that could be worn on sand, in a creek bed, or relaxing on a porch overlooking Miami's South Beach. 

A quick survey of brands yielded a surprising result, based on the fact that Nike and Adidas reigned supreme not too long ago but certainly have shrunk in dominance. 

In the sneaker category, which included tennis, basketball and all other sport shoes, fans wore Asics, Puma, Converse, Fila, plus, and of course, Nike and Adidas. Asics had the lead in running and tennis shoes in bright purple -- to match the courts at Sony Open -- plus waves of neon green and orange. Many of these manufacturers have broadened their designs to include platform sneakers, too. What this does to enhance a producer's image is beyond reckoning, but there were several woman willing to teeter on a pair. Black ones with silver laces, tan canvas ones with matching laces, and striped ones. 

As far a player clothing goes Nike, Adidas, Fila, and Asics --  the major manufacturers on display here --  didn't let the opportunity slip when choosing color combinations for the tournament. Li Na and Madison Keys wore pale blue and shock orange for Nike. Alexandr Dolgopolov wore neon yellow from Adidas while Roger Federer stepped off stage with a subtle blue-grey from his Nike "RF" collection. Kirsten Flipkens wore bright orange from Adidas, as she came up short in her attempt to defeat Maria Sharapova this morning. And, Caroline Wozniacki did not wear her usual Stella McCartney dress from Adidas, opting for subtle instead of sunny which fits right in with her nickname, "Sunshine."

"I love my Stella clothes and I love the feminine part of that," Wozniacki told the press after her thumping of Sloane Stephens in 55 minutes last night, 61 60. "This is the Climate Cool, things we're wearing this week. I think it's cool I can choose my own colors. I thought black today would work well in the night session."

Apparently the No. 11 seeded Dane has a genuine interest in her tennis fashion but we never figured her choices had such foresight. 

© Jane Voigt Tennis 2013