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Australian Open 2016: Players serve up bold colours in on-court fashion parade

Serena Williams gave neutral colours the backhand.
Serena Williams gave neutral colours the backhand. Photo: Getty Images

While some of us are buried in colouring books to reach a peaceful state of mindfulness, tennis players at the Australian Open are attempting to psych-out their competitors with the colour and design of their apparel.

With technical descriptions of the attire rivalling the science of jumpsuits for NASA astronauts and the intricacies of haute couture on international runways, the competitors are reflecting their personalities in a two-week fashion parade.

Maria Sharapova shows orange has more grunt on a blue court.
Maria Sharapova shows orange has more grunt on a blue court. Photo: Darrian Traynor

Given the Australian Open is the first tournament of the grand-slam year, bold colours are bouncing off Rod Laver Arena's blue "Plexicushion" surface and out of your TV screen but there's also a return to the traditional dress. And white is oh so Wimbledon.

The Nike-sponsored players "Just Doing It" across the colour chart are Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Nick Kyrgios, Bernard Tomic, Eugenie Bouchard and Victoria Azarenka.

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The Adidas army comprises Ana Ivanovic, Andy Murray, Caroline Wozniacki and Garbine Muguruza. Asics is worn by Daria Gavrilova and Sam Stosur.

Japanese retailer Uniqlo has its logo on Novak Djokovic. And for Lleyton Hewitt's 20th and final grand slam, he is wearing patriotic outfits based on the Australian flag's Southern Cross stars that are made, rather ironically, by American sports company Athletic DNA.

Roger Federer has "updated gussets" under the arms to allow more motion.
Roger Federer has "updated gussets" under the arms to allow more motion. Photo: Quinn Rooney

Hewitt's blue T-shirt saying "AO16" and a merchandise range featuring his "C'mon" pose are available in the Australian Open shop.

Nike's fearsome foursome, Federer, Sharapova, Williams and Nadal, are involved in the design of their outfits and a statement from Nike said the outfits for all players introduced "new silhouettes and technologies dressed in colours and stripes" that were inspired by the host city.

Lleyton Hewitt: A player who fights to the end.
Lleyton Hewitt: A player who fights to the end. Photo: Eddie Jim

Last year's theme was neon and Serena Williams continued her winning streak on the first day of our grand slam by doubling as a human flare in her fluorescent yellow crop top and pleated skirt.

Dr Zena O'Connor completed her PhD in the "Interface Between Colour and Human Response" and is the author of the e-book Colour Psychology and Colour Therapy.

Nick Kyrgios modelled the sleeveless look that Rafael Nadal wore so well.
Nick Kyrgios modelled the sleeveless look that Rafael Nadal wore so well. Photo: Getty Images

Dr O'Connor, who runs the business Colour Design Research, told Fairfax Media that players needed to work on overcoming their stress and colours such as yellow and orange presented an unstressed, happy and confident image.

"Players like Serena are really confident out there in what they wear," Dr O'Connor said. "It's all about presenting a very confident persona to their competitors."

Venus Williams designs her own apparel in the EleVen by Venus label.
Venus Williams designs her own apparel in the EleVen by Venus label. Photo: Getty Images

Nike informs us that Sharapova's fluoro orange "Premier Maria Dress" has an "open-mesh Dri-FIT fabrication" on the back to help keep her dry and cool. Plus, her shoelaces matched!

It may have appeared that Federer wore a top with green and white horizontal stripes with matching headband but Nike said the "RF polo" with "ribbed-blade collar" gave the traditional polo an "elevated twist" and "updated gussets" under the arms allowed a full range of motion.

Petra Kvitova distracted viewers with a transparent skirt over sport shorts.
Petra Kvitova distracted viewers with a transparent skirt over sport shorts. Photo: Quinn Rooney

Ready for an International Space Station takeoff, Nadal's "Rafa crew tennis shirt" had "Nike AeroReact" technology for the first time in tennis. "The responsive, lightweight bi-component yarn senses moisture vapour and opens its structure to maximise breathability."

The managing director of Marketing Focus, Barry Urquhart, a consumer behaviour analyst and consultant on brand management and equity, told Fairfax Media that players reflected their personality through colours.

He noted of Williams: "Yellow is about fashion, a power statement and it is very much about youth. That is the very essence of what she is about. She is making a strong, bold statement."

As for Federer: "Green is understated, solid and it's not an assertive statement. It says 'I'm a person of reason'. It's not an alpha male statement. Green is reasoned, rational-thinking and that is the essence of what he is all about."

Nick Kyrgios wore the sleeveless look that Rafael Nadal modelled early in his career to show the progression of his biceps. Mr Urquhart said the Kyrgios clothing screamed "It's always about me" and "Hold on, here I am".

"He does make a statement with his dress. Roger is certainly not doing that," Mr Urquhart said.

While the speed of a serve is as much a missile as apparel colours, style consultant Cindy Newstead from Style with Cindy told Fairfax Media that there was a downside to using bold colours to intimidate a competitor. "I think the bolder colours can be distracting," she said.

Distraction also comes from see-through fabric and Czechoslovakian Petra Kvitova drew attention by wearing a transparent white pleated skirt over her white sport shorts.

Venus Williams designs her own fashion range called EleVen by Venus and is living proof that "blue and green should never be seen, except with something in between" by adding white.

The Australian Open is on the opposite end of the colour wheel to all-white Wimbledon and scandal erupted in 2015 when Canadian Eugenie Bouchard was caught wearing a black bra in contravention off the dress code that stated: "Any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white."

The Colour Society of Australia (there is such a thing) was established in 1987 and informs us that International Colour Day is on March 21.

As Madonna sang, Express Yourself, in a conical black bra.