Courtside Coquettes

Article excerpt

Byline: Lizzie Crocker

From Gussie to Venus, tennis fashion has always set tongues wagging.

It was the gasp heard 'round the world. Tennis starlet Gertrude "Gorgeous Gussie" Moran, who died on Jan. 16 at age 89, shocked Wimbledon officials in 1949 when she gave them a glimpse of her lace knickers each time she reached for a groundstroke. The free sights were a career game-changer for Moran, who was already known for her powerful forehand and quiet sex appeal. Her eye-catching undergarments didn't go over well with the staid All England Club, which banned tennis great turned couturier Ted Tinling from Wimbledon for designing Moran's racy ensemble. Meanwhile, photographers were lying on their backs to get a shot up her skirt. After that match, Moran unwittingly became the sport's original provocatrix, paving the way for other female players to serve up daring style on the court--pinstripes, catsuits, and more outrageous looks that would make even Gorgeous Gussie blush.

Gussie Moran

Flashed beneath her white hemline, Gorgeous Gussie's naughty knickers led to her fall from grace on the tennis court. But they were the start of a tour-de-force fashion career for Teddy Tinling, who, despite his temporary ban from Wimbledon, began dressing a decades-long line of female tennis players eager to push the sport's fashion boundaries.

Maria Bueno

Like many other ball-bashing beauties of her time, the Brazilian champion had a close relationship with Tinling, who styled most of the mod dresses she sported in the 1960s. While her fashion taste was a bit cutting edge for Wimbledon's hallowed greensward, it didn't stop her from winning the women's singles title three times.

Chris Evert

In the '70s, she was tennis's American Sweetheart, as famous for her ruffled skivvies as she was for her two-handed backhand and phlegmatic demeanor on court and off. At the tender age of 15, Evert beat the No. 1 player in the world and went on to win a record number of titles over the course of her 17-year career.

Martina Navratilova

The Czechoslovakian-born Navratilova eschewed the traditional baseline-anchored women's game and demure persona perfected by her rival Evert. …