There was once a time when there were more shoes in the Nike locker room at Wimbledon than there were tennis shoes. The sight of a superstar whose clothes were a showstopper but whose feet were an afterthought to spectators was common. That time has passed. Today, a man playing for the Nike stripe has to choose between two very different styles: a black Nike or a brown one. There are only two tennis shoes he can be proud of at Wimbledon and only one, if at all, will catch the eye of the fans.
Whether that red- and blue-stamped white shoemaker pays homage to a band called JTJ, if his mum was dressed like Audrey Hepburn or if it is actually named for a talking cat has no bearing on the victory. Nick Kyrgios picked up a set against Philipp Kohlschreiber in the last round of the men’s singles, once every time he opted for a tracksuit as opposed to playing in his signature dress shirt. The 18-year-old Australian beat the German in straight sets, propelling him to the third round and a clash with Guido Pella, the unseeded Argentine, who he dispatched in straight sets.
Kyrgios did not seem distracted as he hit out at protesters from PETA who criticized the designs of the off-white shoes. He wears them because, well, he can. But he also liked the shape of them. “I wanted to try something a little bit different, but was looking at different variations. I went through about five pairs,” he said.