Beyond the Tennis Bracelet: Surveying the On-Court Jewelry of Today’s Top Players (2024)

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Fashion

By Nick Remsen

Beyond the Tennis Bracelet: Surveying the On-Court Jewelry of Today’s Top Players (4)

    Courtesy Radka Leitmeritz for the WTA Tour and ATP Tour

    When the 2024 tennis season kicked off in Australia, Coco Gauff–fresh off of her maiden Slam win at the U.S. Open a few months prior–was seen wearing a pearl Vivienne Westwood necklace anchored with a charm of the house’s iconic “orb.” I took a mental note, adding the piece to my list of standout jewelry sightings in recent elite tennis competition. Gauff’s choker stood out as something more fashion-forward than I was used to seeing, alongside Aryna Sabalenka’s bijoux game (she often wears Cartier) and Grigor Dimitrov’s arm candy (he showed me his impressive stack of Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra bracelets at last year’s D.C. Open).

    We’re arguably in the sport’s most visible window in history–Challengers is still in theaters (Zendaya’s character, Tashi, wears a Cartier Love bracelet on screen, FYI), Roland-Garros (the French Open) wraps this weekend, Wimbledon looms, the Olympics follow and the U.S. Open concludes this peak. Tenniscore, as it has been dubbed, is at its zenith–and jewelry is perhaps its most interesting window, as it allows a view into the personal tastes and styles of the sport’s top athletes, given that their clothes are often generally within the confines of their sponsors’ designated kits.

    Tennis and jewelry go hand-in-grip, and have done so for a while. There’s an entire bracelet named for the sport, thanks to Chris Evert, who wore discreet diamond bracelets during play as far back as the late ’70s. (Urban legend says that the term tennis bracelet originated when Evert broke a piece during play at the U.S. Open in 1987 when, in fact, the phrase had been in use beforehand in large part thanks to her style.) Yet the codes of tennis and jewelry have evolved in 2024–they’ve become more varied, allowing players to flex a bit of their own flair. This is especially interesting considering the “tunnel walk” phenomenon hasn’t really hit tennis the way it has other high-visibility sports–we don’t really get a glimpse at player style unless it’s through their personal Instagrams.

    Of course, there’s a difference between off-duty and on-court aesthetics–this survey focuses on match-play styling. Most of the athletes we talked to (from both the WTA Tour and the ATP Tour) say that simple is best for efficiency, but that grouping adds personality. “A little layering, a little ear stack, multiple bracelets,” says Jessica Pegula, when asked about best practices for playing with jewelry.

    Coco Gauff

    Courtesy Radka Leitmeritz for the WTA Tour and ATP Tour

    Gauff says “I’m a silver jewelry girl. Usually, I wear just one necklace. And I usually have earrings in. I like Coach earrings, actually, because they have a C.” Sloane Stephens notes: “When I play, I love to wear a diamond choker–something cute that stands out, but that is also subtle.” She adds that it’s smart to wear items that are relatively minimal, because sunscreen can rub off more prominently on bigger pieces.

    Naomi Osaka, who partners with the likes of Louis Vuitton and TAG Heuer, tells me there are no hard-and-fast rules. “I think jewelry is so personal to everyone, so it really just depends on individual preferences," she says. “For me, I like things that are cute and unique, but still minimal and easy to play in. But I see some other players, especially on the men’s side, wearing bulkier pieces. I love that jewelry is a simple way to make your on-court look feel more distinct to your own personal style.”

    On the men’s circuit, players including Andrey Rublev, Alexander Zverev, and Lorenzo Musetti are often spotted in eye-catching drip. See: Rublev with his dense bracelet stack, Zverev with his layered gold necklaces, and Musetti with his pendants.

    Frances Tiafoe wears a necklace with BIG FOE, his nickname, stamped out in a silver charm. In his was–it–or–wasn’t–it final Roland-Garros match at the start of the French Open, Rafael Nadal debuted a $1.1 million Richard Mille watch on the clay (the famed timepiece maker also works with Sebastian Korda). Tommy Paul and Pegula both wear De Bethune watches in play, while Rolex has partnered with such stars as Stephens, Iga Swiatek, Carlos Alcaraz, Jannik Sinner, and Holger Rune–but the famed Swiss house does not ask these players to wear their watches during competition.

    To that point, for any watch sported during play, keep it “super light, so you don’t even feel it,” says Korda. “I like things simple and consistent. Watch on, always two necklaces. The better you look, the better you feel.”

    Sebastian Korda

    Courtesy Radka Leitmeritz for the WTA Tour and ATP Tour

    Rublev echoes the sentiment: “Keep the jewelry look consistent. If you change it from day to day, then it’s not comfortable at all.”

    And, as is often the case with bijoux, a sentimental component can make a piece that much more special–and perhaps that much more of a good luck talisman. Pegula, for example, blends her partner Gorjana’s pieces with gifts, including from spectators. “I get a lot of beaded and braided bracelets,” she says. “I love wearing pieces that are made by my fans.”

    Ahead, a closer look at the pieces beloved by Gauff, Korda, Pegula, and more.

    • Beyond the Tennis Bracelet: Surveying the On-Court Jewelry of Today’s Top Players (5)

    • Beyond the Tennis Bracelet: Surveying the On-Court Jewelry of Today’s Top Players (6)

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