It was the kind of bag you might see in an airplane’s first-class cabin overhead locker. Except he was taken to center court at Wimbledon by a 6ft 2in redhead.
Jannik Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian tennis player and world number eight, broke with tradition on Monday when he showed up on the court with a custom-made duffel bag draped in the Gucci “GG” monograms, its red and green strap slung over his shoulder.
For the average sports fan, this may not seem unusual. In basketball, tunnel walks become mini fashion shows as players make their way to their locker rooms drenched in designer apparel and accessories.
But that kind of athletic energy has yet to come to tennis—especially Wimbledon, the most traditional of the four Grand Slam tournaments, with its strict all-white dress requirements. (This is the first year that women have played at Wimbledon Permissible To wear non-white underwear, to ease anxiety about your period.)
Players at Grand Slams adhere to a rule book that regulate what they can wear and carry in the courts. There are restrictions on the size, location, and number of logos on sleeves, collars, headbands, socks, and equipment bags.
Holds many players both of them A racquet bag and a personal court duffel bag, but they are usually plain gym bags. A few hours before the start of Mr. Sinner’s match, for example, Novak Djokovic (ranked number two in the world) walked to Center Court with two white bags made by Head, his racquet sponsor.
Gucci said Mr. Sinner’s appearance with the duffel is the first time a tennis player has been allowed to carry a luxury bag emblazoned with the logo on the court. Even the darlings of the fashion world, like Roger Federer and Serena Williams, who have a close relationship with Gucci, didn’t do this before their retirement. At last year’s Ms. Williams final, she said Pregnancy Duffel bag by Wilson stamped with the Nike Monogram logo.
It was Mr. Sinner, whose initials also appeared on his Gucci bag name of the thing brand ambassador last July. Gucci said it worked with Mr. Sinner’s team to obtain approvals from the International Tennis Federation, the Association of Tennis Professionals and Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon, to ensure the bag met the necessary requirements. He carried his racquets in a plain white headbag.
Gucci isn’t the only luxury house looking to match up with the young tennis stars. Naomi Osaka and Carlos Alcaraz were ambassadors for Louis Vuitton. Mr. Alcaraz, 20, who is ranked No. 1 in the world, was announced as an ambassador for Vuitton on June 28, just five days before Wimbledon kicks off. On the same day, Gucci threw a lavish private dinner for Mr. Sinner in London to celebrate his third year at Wimbledon.
Mr. Sinner and Mr. Alcaraz are emerging rivals among the next generation of men’s tennis stars. At last year’s US Open, they played a quarter-final match that lasted over five hours, and ended before 3am – the last US Open match that ever ended.
Unlike Mr. Alcaraz, Mr. Sinner does not have a Grand Slam title, though tennis experts are optimistic. The Italian has one thing the Spaniard does not: a passionate group of fans, called Karuta Boyswho dresses up in carrot costumes and travels to tournaments to support him.
Mr. Sinner doesn’t seem to view the bag, made of canvas with leather trim, as a serious departure from tradition. In an e-mail, he writes that he is very fond of traditions, including the Wimbledon dress code. For the design of the bag, he and Gucci wanted “something that could be drawn from the Gucci archives.”
The straps are removable and the interior contains hidden water bottle pockets. He said he would use it to carry a change of clothes, nutritional supplements, sunscreen and whatever else he might need for a few hours in court.
Asked if he made any specific requests to Gucci, Mr. Sinner wrote: “I wanted the bag to be comfortable to carry and have enough to hold all my things inside. I think my priority was functionality.”