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Photo: Brian Bills (Shaftel)

My Favorite Things

With the Wimbledon finals in full swing this weekend, our thoughts naturally turn courtside. And here to indulge us with a dose of tennis-centric style is David Shaftel, editor and co-founder of Racquet, the independent quarterly magazine celebrating tennis art, style, and culture. With ace design, a tongue-in-cheek throwback vibe, and a global perspective, we like to think it has all the right ingredients. And that worldview comes largely courtesy of Shaftel—who has lived and worked in New York, Trinidad, Mumbai, Phnom Penh, and London—bringing a distinctive voice not only to Racquet the magazine (and the 2020 book of the same name) but to his features for publications such as The New York Times, the Financial Times, and The Guardian. Herewith, he serves up his favorite items of the moment.

Solinco

$220

Whiteout 300 Tennis Racquet

“Solinco just released two customizable racquets, the Blackout and Whiteout, one for novices and one for advanced players. They were designed with help from Roman Prokes, the celebrated racquet tech for Andre Agassi. Both have features that were previously expensive and only available to pros. They’re conversation pieces in addition to being great racquets.”

Reigning Champ x Racquet

$145

Embroidered French Terry Sweatshirt

“I love good, simple, high-quality basics and when it comes to basics, Reigning Champ is the…reigning champ. This sweatshirt we collaborated on is super high-quality and super versatile.”

Adidas

$102

Adidas Barricade Tennis Shoe

“Tennis shoes are tough—most just don’t feel right. Adidas re-launched the legendary Barricade last year and the new ones feel comfy right out the box, so no excuses if I play poorly on the first day. Plus, I love the jazzy colorways. I’m obsessed with pink, so the addition of a pink version for men is the clincher.”

Maurice de Mauriac

$2,478

Automatic Classic Stand Smith Signature Watch

“I love this Stan Smith collaboration with the Zurich-based watchmakers founded in 1997 by Daniel Dreifuss. The Dreifusses worked with Stan Smith on this watch for over two years. Smith has won a total of 100 tournaments, in singles and doubles, so they made one hundred each in green, red, and blue, representing the three typical tennis surfaces.”

Sergio Tacchini

$110

Capomasters Twill Track Jacket

“Sergio Tacchini has an unbelievable, if somewhat forgotten, tennis heritage. John McEnroe won all his slams in Tacchini; Pete Sampras began his career in it; Mats Wilander was dominant in it; Gabriela Sabatini dazzled in it. I love this track jacket. Never was there a more versatile top, whether you’re on your way to the courts, an extra in a rap video, or taking down a meatball hero on Arthur Avenue in the Bronx.”

Awake NY

$215

Lacoste Edition Cotton Lounge Pants

“The pandemic may be winding down, but I’m still committed to sweatpants. Lacoste’s new-ish creative director, Louise Trotter, has transformed the tennis side of the brand and the idea of what modern tennis style can look like–we’re all playing catch-up to her work.”

Palmes Tennis Society

$80

Arrow Heart Canvas Tote

“After years of looking, I’ve concluded there is still no better bag for tennis than a large tote; the purpose-made tennis bags with an excess of pockets and zippers and compartments are too much of a fiddle and stuff gets lost in them. (Trust me, you don’t want to find a sweated-in wristband months after the fact.) I’m currently using this one from a new Danish tennis brand.”

Friedrich Kunath

$700

Friedrich Kunath: I Don’t Worry Anymore

“Our magazine is obsessed with the intersection of art and tennis and we can think of no artist more obsessed with tennis than Friedrich Kunath. This monograph contains loads of paintings with tennis imagery and a fascinating, abstract conversation between Kunath and John McEnroe.”

Casablanca

$481

Multicolor Polyester Jacket

“I want every single item Casablanca’s makes. I’m not sure I can pull off this phantasmagoric jacket, but I’d sure like to give it a try.”

Polaroid

$195

Now+Stater Set

“At Racquet we’ve been collecting Polaroid portraits of all the pro players for years. It’s a fun, easy, and unique way to take photos. And the players are always intrigued by seeing a bulky film camera amid the iPhone-wielding fans and pro equipment in the press box, so we get great shots of them with bemused expressions.”

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My Favorite Things
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