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Melbourne Musings | Pink is New Macho as Tennis Stars Take to ‘Girly’ Colour in Australian Open

Most of the top ranking players at the Australian open have Nike contracts and so the big matches have a glint of giggly innocence about it.

Binoo K John |

Updated:January 22, 2018, 10:47 AM IST
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Melbourne Musings | Pink is New Macho as Tennis Stars Take to ‘Girly’ Colour in Australian Open
In this file photo, Rafael Nadal of Spain hits a shot against Diego Schwartzman of Argentina in Tennis - Australian Open. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
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Melbourne: Pink is becoming the colour of male assertion. Well, sportswear giant Nike has clothed all players whom they have a contract with in luminescent pink, leaving teenaged girls to figure out why cutie femininity has gone out of pink.

Most of the top ranking players at the Australian open have Nike contracts and so the big matches have a glint of giggly innocence about it. It is not that the macho men have discarded their screaming athleticism, but they now prefer to look a bit more adolescent . At least Nike thinks that will make their male sportswear sell better. Pink is the new macho.

Surprisingly, women’s range on show at the beginning of the season here in Melbourne does not have pink in its range. Most women stars sport a luminescent green or blue shades, something which men players preferred not too long back. This trend towards an androgynous male look has been in the making for a couple of years when luminescent colours made an appearance in the belief that the product will look better on TV with such sparkling greens and yellows. Australian Open has a deep blue PlexiCushion playing surface and pink contrasts well and stands out.

At the Australian Open, the pinky guys are a rich and muscly lot. Start counting the ranks and you have them one after the other. Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer, Nick Kyrgios, Grigor Dimitrov, Juan Del Potro, Kyle Edmund, Thansi Kakkinakais and a few others ranked lower.

The gruelling third round Dimtrov-Krygios match which went into four on Sunday night, was an all pink affair. It was a power packed baseline slugfest as if the players were suggesting that ‘hey we still have the power, though our boy colours are gone’.

Federer, always dressed in grey black or blue, has not yet fully surrendered to the bait of pink but with Nike trying to paint him pink, he has made a compromise with a pink head band and a shoe with a pink sole. His heart does not seem to be in pink though his sole is.

Nadal too hasn’t worn the pink shirt which Krygios and others have sported but he has made a concession to commercial interests with a pink head band (it was white most of these years), pink shorts and a shoe with a grey upper and pink sole. Nadal, of course, does not want to be seen as all too girlie-coloured and has worn sleeveless shirts showing off his rippling biceps as if to neutralise the feminine effect of pink.

The all black, angry and determined look of Andy Murray seems to have been obliterated forever, and in any case Murray is not around to hold the black flag aloft. If Novak Djokovic is not yet in pink it is because he is now with Lacoste having shifted from Uniqlo, the Japanese upstart trying to make a mark among the luminescent colours.

Feminists, however, are not too happy at being stamped with pink, calling it undeserving stereotyping. They tend to believe that pink is the typical male strategy to associate them with soft colours and thus slam them all as prissies.

Experts are of the view that pink became a colour associated with young women only towards the 1950s, while earlier men too used it. In Great Gatsby, Jay appears in a pink suit in a scene where he meets his mistress. The intention might have been to portray a romantic sexual undertone.

Fashion expert Valorie Steele has been quoted in 2013 as saying that in the 18th century it was perfectly natural for men to wear pink dresses with floral embroidery.

It is too early to say that tennis is leading the way back to the 18th century in asking men to take to pink. Unless of course soon Nadal appears soon with a floral embroidery adorning his pink head band.

(The author is a senior journalist. Views are personal)
| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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