lead image & court shots by @thegallerybyroundtwo
The game of tennis has once again taken center stage in the sports world. On July 2, in a bold move, Roger Federer left Nike after two decades and signed with Uniqlo as its Global Brand Ambassador. Federer made headlines again when he uncharacteristically crashed at Wimbledon to Anderson after winning the first two sets and having match point in the third. Despite the setback, and as a tribute to arguably the greatest men’s tennis player of all-time, today’s Throwback Thursday pays tribute to an underrated model worn by two of the game’s greatest players – Agassi and Federer – the 2000 Nike Air Court Implosion.
Winner of Tennis Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award in 2001, the Nike Air Court Implosion served as one of the last sneakers in the storied Agassi line and continued the shift away from maximum cushioning to sneakers which employed a lower profile and lightweight design utilizing Zoom Air cushioning. Part of the Nike Alpha Project, the Court Implosion came in a variety of colorways including midnight navy/comet red and featured a plethora of technology at the start of the post-2000 Nike sneaker era such as synthetic leather, a patented DRAG-ON TPU cage, lightweight and flexible full-length Phylon midsole, heel and forefoot Zoom Air units, and a full-length DRC non-marking outsole.
The Court Implosion was a highly popular model worn by Agassi, as well as a rising young Swiss tennis star named Roger Federer, who originally wore the Air Court Implosion throughout the earlier part of his historic career. In the 2001 US Open, a young Federer lost to Agassi in straight sets which ultimately set the stage for the passing of the torch between the classic ’90s tennis era and the new generation of tennis stars.
A Career Grand Slam Champion and winner of an unprecedented 20 career Grand Slams including 8 Wimbledon titles, Federer’s place among tennis’ pantheon of greatness is secure. Like the Rolex watch which adorns his wrist at each trophy presentation, Federer’s game is smooth, reliable, elegant, refined, crafted, and resembles the gold standard of excellence. As such, the impact and legacy of the Nike Air Court Implosion tennis sneaker cannot be understated, either.
Nearly 20 years following its debut, the Air Court Implosion remains a silhouette that has maintained an allure, appeal, and inspires and evokes nostalgia particularly for hardcore tennis and Agassi enthusiasts, illustrating its timeless nature and everlasting appeal and impact on tennis culture and sneaker technology from the early 2000s era. An underrated, often forgotten silhouette which for the moment is back at center court in London, SW19.
Court now is adjourned.