In tennis, long means out. In hair, long means in.
“The trend has been men growing their hair out,” says rock-star hairstylist Tanya Foster of Indianapolis-based Kiss Kiss Bang Bang Salon. “Even mullets are back in style.”
Now that you’re banned from the barbershop for a while, embrace the length—long locks have always been popular on the tennis court anyway. Even Roger Federer once liked his wild and free. Here are the ATP’s most aspirational looks.
All photos from Getty Images
The look: 1970s heartthrob
Foster: “The headband is deceiving. It holds it all down. He didn’t know what to do with the top.”
Legend has it: At Wimbledon in 1973, mobs of female fans tore out locks of his hair as he tried to exit Center Court after a win. “I was literally thrown on the ground by these girls. But at the same time, it was kind of fun,” he said. (High Strung: Bjorn Borg, John McEnroe and the Untold Story of Tennis’s Fiercest Rivalry, by Stephen Tignor)
The Baby Bjorn
The look: A carefree tousle of face-framing curls
Foster: “He has the perfect hair texture for this. He probably just gets it trimmed up to keep it tame.”
He says: “That's why I wear a headband, otherwise I would be in big trouble during a match. I like it. It’s my trademark. I’m going to keep it. I’ll tell you that.”
The Vintage Andre
The look: Glam mullet, layered on top and flowing soft in the back
Foster: “I’m watching people do drunk quarantine haircuts right now. I can just picture someone drunk-cutting this. If I were to put my hand over the back, it would actually be a really nice short haircut.”
He says: “What would they say if they knew I had been wearing a hairpiece all this time?” he confessed in his biography, Open. “I ask myself: You’re going to wear a hairpiece? During tournaments? I answer: What choice do I have?”
The look: A ginger Bob Ross-ian mop
Foster: “Don’t be afraid of big, ridiculous hair. All the young kids are already doing that with their tops. This would be if you let it all go. You definitely need the texture, though.”
Legend has it: According to the Daily Mail, Murray loved the mess but image consultants advised a clean-cut look.
The look: unkempt bad boy
Foster: “Same as Andy Murray’s, but super-duper curly hair. It’s the ‘I don’t give an eff’ look.”
He says: “Who was this curly-headed upstart, this petulant boy, this nobody, to disturb the decorum of Court One?” he wrote in You Cannot Be Serious about debuting at Wimbledon in 1977.
The look: Extreme dreadlocks—24 years in the making
Foster: “It’s basically long hair when you don’t shampoo it. But it’s not low-maintenance for two or three years. You need a lot of dreadlock wax. Now is the time.”
He says: “It’s always funny to see pictures and to see what my hair does behind me. Normally I don’t get to see that,” he said after beating Rafael Nadal at Wimbledon in 2015.
The Early Roger
The look: A long bob, aka “lob”—the only hairstyle that’s also a tennis shot
Foster: “This is a bob growing out and he puts it in a ponytail.”
Legend has it: According to The Roger Federer Story by Rene Stauffer, a stylist in Toronto convinced Federer to cut it short in 2004 after he won the title. He lost his first match with the new style in Cincinnati the next week.
The look: A young Tom Petty
Foster: “Bringing back the ’80s mullet. Look out, world, it is happening.”
He says: “When I was growing up I had long hair, and then I joined the air cadets and they made me cut it. My best friend has long hair and convinced me to grow it again. I'm glad I stuck with it, it's kind of like Borg.” (Tennis World USA, 2018)
The look: shaggy, layered, and groomed
Foster: “All of the other pictures are a grown-out version of this cut, expect the dreads. All of those looks say, ‘I don’t care about my hair,’ and that itself is stylish to me.”
He says: “I am lucky enough genetically but also I use special shampoo and conditioners for my type of hair!” he said on a Reddit Ask Me Anything