JANUARY IS FAST approaching its half way point, bringing about the return to life as usual. Christmas decorations have long been packed away and the excuse to start making cocktails at 2pm is more a cry for help than it is festive spirit. But, it’s not all bad. Because as we cling desperately to our new year’s resolutions, January also means the return of the Australian Open, the number one event in Australia’s tennis calendar. The first grand slam of the year, the AO will start on Sunday January 14 and for the first time ever has announced global athletic leader New Balance as its Official Performance Apparel and Footwear Provider. From shorts and tanks, to shoes, polos and joggers, the line is designed with both athletes and fans in mind, meaning you can enjoy the same fusion of form and function whether you’re on the court, or watching from the stands.
“This is more than a sponsorship,” explains global director of sports marketing for New Balance tennis, Evan Zeder. “It is a celebration of two brands dedicated to growing the game and inspiring the next generation of tennis players and fans. Together, we are committed to making a lasting impact on the world of tennis and leaving a lasting impression on the hearts of future athletes.”
It’s a savvy move. While the Australian Open enjoys its premier place as the first and arguably the most iconic of all Aussie sporting events, tennis itself has struggled in recent years to connect with younger generations. In New Balance, the AO has a partner uniquely embedded in the youth and pop culture zeitgeist.
Propelled by a desire to do things differently, New Balance has established itself as one of the most exciting brands in athleisure through its clean design principles and clever partnerships with brands like Aimé Lore Deon and rapper/author Action Bronson. Limited edition lines are instant sell outs and it’s almost impossible to walk a stretch of pavement without seeing a handful of people wearing sneakers with the brand’s iconic ‘N’. Outside of streetwear, New Balance has also made impressive inroads within tennis in recent years, announcing Americans Coco Gauff and Tommy Paul as ambassadors.
The brand’s apparel general manager, Jeff Garabedian is excited to see the new collection in stores. “From bold graphics and vibrant colours to clean and classic designs, the AO range caters to diverse tastes,” he says. “Whether you’re a young fan inspired by the latest trends or a seasoned tennis enthusiast appreciating timeless styles, there’s something for everyone in this exciting collection.”
The new range will be available to shop at New Balance’s retail activation at the Australian Open, located outside Rod Laver Arena. Just like the brand’s in-store presence, the activation will offer fans an immersive space to enjoy the energy of the AO and experience the collection up close. The range will also be able to shop online here and at the Melbourne Central and Chadstone flagship stores.