The Tennis Sweater

I’m sure I’m not the only knitter out there who’s been watching hours and hours of the Wimbledon tennis coverage.  Wimbledon has been so fascinating this year due to the elimination of so many of the top-seeded players. As I write, Marion Bartoli and Sabine Lisicki will be playing in the Women’s Final; one will win her first ever Grand Slam Singles Title on Saturday.  Tennis players are required to wear traditional all-white tennis wear at Wimbledon and I was reminded of the classic white tennis sweater.

Fred Perry via Wikipedia
1930s tennis player Fred Perry via Wikipedia

Years ago, my mother knit a similar sweater for my father.  It was  the traditional tennis sweater:  cream colored wool, cables, V-neck and navy blue and dark red stripes.  Recalling this recently, I wondered about the history of the tennis sweater.

Rod Laver 1962 Grand Slam Champion via The Indendent
Rod Laver 1962 Grand Slam Champion via The Independent

From what I have been able to find out, the tennis sweater gained popularity in the 1920s.  There is some question as to whether is was an adaptation of a ski sweater or a golf sweater.  Cricket sweaters are also very similar with the colored trim knit in the team colors.  Tennis sweaters are generally white or cream colored, wool or cotton with V-necks, colored bands and cables.

Roger Federer via Tennis Wearhouse
Roger Federer via Tennis Wearhouse

Debbie Bliss has a beautiful pattern on Ravelry.

Cricket Sweater by Debbie Bliss on Ravelry
Cricket Sweater by Debbie Bliss on Ravelry