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Style Seeds: Kings of Nike (Roger Vs. Rafa)

In a new series for The Tennis Island I take a retrospective, sartorially-inclined glance at the on-court fashion of the 2014 season in Style Seeds. From icons to newcomers, daredevils to trendsetters, prepare to get your fashion thinking caps on and cast your vote in the poll below.

| Brisbane |

Federer began his season at the Brisbane International where he reached the final, losing to longtime rival Lleyton Hewitt. Nike dressed him in a classic polo shirt in cream complete with signature RF logo and diffused jade accent colors that matched his shorts. Federer styled the outfit with a light crimson sweatband and bandana, swiftly navigating the court in new edition Nike Zoom Vapour 9.5 Tour Lt Crimson Night’s.

| Doha – Australian Open – Rio de Janeiro – Dubai |

Nadal perfectly kicked off his 2014 campaign at the Qatar ExxonMobil Open in Doha, claiming the title against an inspired Gael Monfils. Paired with his favorite Nike Lunar Ballistec’s, the Spaniard carried over last season’s penchant for grey, incorporating both red and blue color-blocking complete with signature bandana and oversized sweatbands. A week later, Nadal and his shorter-than-shorts made it to the Australian Open final only to be shocked by first time major finalist Stan Wawrinka in four sets. Fortunately for Nadal, the outfit proved three times a charm during an early season clay warm up event at the Rio Open in Rio de Janeiro, where he stormed to the title dropping just a single set.

The Australian Open saw two outfit changes from Federer over the course of the tournament. The most prominent was a sun deflecting all white polo shirt and short ensemble featuring the red and teal accent colors previously introduced in Brisbane. Federer’s shorts showcased an interesting triangular graphic print that offset the blue hues of the Melbourne court. At the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, Federer debuted the second diffused jade polo shirt colorway on court, beating then-No.2 Novak Djokovic and No. 6 Tomas Berdych en-route to the title.

| Indian Wells – Miami |

Nadal and Federer both took cue from pastel hues during the BNP Paribas OpenMiami Open American hardcourt swing. In Nadal’s case, Nike continued with the color-blocking theme, this time offering a fresh multi-hue crew neck shirt complete with grind-print Gladiator 7″ shorts. Nadal also donned the new addition Nike Lunar Ballistec’s in neon atomic orange.

Federer reached the final of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, defeating Nadal’s conqueror Alexandr Dolgopolov en-route to a showdown with Djokovic. Unfortunately for Federer, the Serb got his revenge in a well fought three-set victory. Loss aside, Federer still looked pretty dapper dressed in a lilac polo shirt and Gladiator Premier 9″ shorts. Federer maneuvered the court in his signature Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour‘s reworked in atomic orange, a colorway also showcased by his Nike’d colleague.

| Monte Carlo – Barcelona – Madrid – Rome |

Nadal pushed his sartorial style to its limits, showcasing a clay season outfit that took him to one Mutua Madrid Open title, one Internazionali BNL d’Italia final and two surprising quarterfinal defeats at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell respectively. We’re so used to seeing Nadal dominate on the clay, but where his tennis fell flat, his outfit more than made amends. Nike offered Nadal’s signature crew neck shirt in military blue that perfectly offset the vibrancy of the clay. His go-to Nike Lunar Ballistec’s arrived dirt-ready in dusty metallic hues with innovative lace elastic technology.

Federer paired back his clay season in the run up to Roland Garros with appearances at both the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters and Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Nike’s summer line offered Federer a modern v-neck shirt in teal with contrast baby blue piping. Whilst his Nike Zoom Vapour 9.5’s were given an aesthetic overhaul in grey with a baby blue Nike swoosh and lime green sole.

| Roland Garros – Halle |

A home away from home for the King of Clay, Nadal clinched his ninth Roland Garros victory and overall 14th Grand Slam crown during a dream two weeks in Paris. His victor’s outfit was both vibrant and modern in neon baby blue that offset the red dirt. His reissued Nike Lunar Ballistic’s picked up on the metallic trend from the clay season in the sole, but was unashamedly bold in bright blue, perfect for catching the attention of the crowd high up in the Philippe Chatrier court.

Nike’s take on the Swiss Red flag saw Federer don a design with vibrant blocks of red and military grey. Red has been a prominent hue in the Federer on-court wardrobe; it’s his signature after all. The Nike Premier RF Crew neckline from the clay season was reinterpreted in Paris with a flash of red and so too were the Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour’s in soft grey and bold crimson.

| Wimbledon |

The newly enforced – and stricter – all-white rule from the All England Tennis Club may have crushed the dreams of those wishing to flash a more colorful hue, but that’s not to say tennis brands gave up their innovative ways. Instead, fabric, cuts and details were elevated. Nadal’s Wimbledon gear took on a slick white and silver accented aesthetic suited to the classicism of the hallowed Centre Court, complete with matching bandana and sweatbands.

Federer reached his first Grand Slam final of the season on the lawns of Wimbledon. As natural as clay comes to Nadal, grass is undoubtedly Federer’s career-defining surface. In a final that lasted almost four hours, Federer battled against World No. 2 Djokovic in a five-set thriller, ultimately coming up short to lose just his eighth slam final (17-8 lifetime). Federer sported a heritage pinstripe polo shirt with shorts and newly developed Nike Zoom Vapor 9.5 Tour’s in an archival colorway of crisp white with gold.

| Toronto – Cincinnati |

While Nadal was sidelined for three months with a right wrist injury, Federer took to the hard courts of the Rogers Cup, Canada and Western & Southern Open, Cincinnati for his New York preparation. Nike adopted the fresh hues of their spring line with a mint, teal and navy colorway on a classic polo shirt and shorts ensemble.

| US Open |

As we’ve come to expect from the city that never sleeps, New York brings out showmanship and daredevil fashion choices from players eager to impress the riotous crowds. Federer was no stranger to such pageantry at this year’s US Open, sporting both a day and night outfit throughout the tournament. However, it was the night outfit that particularly hit a strong fashion note. Federer looks spectacular in all black, which Nike accented with a flash of neon fuchsia on the sole of his Zoom Vapor’s.

| Beijing – Shanghai – Basel – Paris – London |

Nadal’s three-month layoff was halted at the China Open, where he fell in the quarterfinals to 56th-ranked Martin Klizan. The Shanghai Rolex Masters wasn’t much better for the former No. 1, losing in his opening match to compatriot Feliciano Lopez in a tight two-setter. In the quarterfinals of the Swiss Indoors Basel, his last match of 2014, he tapped out against 124th ranked 18-year-old Croat Borna Coric. A sad ending to the season, to be sure. But at least he looked good while losing.

Federer took his signature red hue throughout the Shanghai Rolex Masters, Swiss Indoors Basel and BNP Paribas Masters. He picked up a further two titles on his way to the the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals held at the O2 pantheon in London.

So, who wore it best? Vote here in our TTI Style Seeds Poll:

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About Christopher Prince (36 Articles)
Fashion writer by day, tennis reporter by well also day but it's night given the time difference. You know when you wake up like dis, and you're flawless? Yeah that's me. @cosmicvoices

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