It had been a while since I last played tennis.

It all happened because my father recently decided to relaunch a tennis wear line that he had first launched in 1989.

It first took place in the era when Andre Agassi’s flashy wear was the look. My father, who was a coach and stood on the court every day, thought that “Sure, it suits Agassi but I could never pull that off. To begin with, simple clothes befit the vibrant colors of the tennis courts.” From there, he started a tennis wear brand, Sud-Sud-Ouest, that used white and navy as its basic colors.

And now in 2020. Determined to dress his almost two-year old grandson in simple tennis wear, he dug out his archive. And here we are today with a relaunch of the line.

This is a group photo with the team back then, wearing the brand’s standard pieces. For the relaunch, the brand has brought back the sweatshirt worn by the two on the left.

And that is how I came to play tennis once again. Tennis is becoming a bit lax in some aspects, but there remains a rule to wear “a white polo.” So if you play tennis, you have more opportunities than non-tennis playing people to wear white polo shirts. As a child, I hated it and would wear basketball jerseys on the court like Nick Kyrgios, but after a few years, wearing a white polo on the court came to feel right. Perhaps the polo shirt on the tennis court is akin to the obi in judo.

[On left] My father when he went to a college in the US in the 1970s on a sports scholarship. Seeing star NCAA players wearing their collegiate sweatshirts over polo shirts and how good that looked was the beginning of my father’s tennis wear line. For example, Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors in their UCLA sweatshirt, John McEnroe in his Stanford, and Stan Smith with his USC.

My father, Keizo Miyamoto, standing on the left. After graduating from high school, he went to play tennis in college in the US from 1972 to 1977. After returning to Japan, he coached and, through magazines and such, informed about the latest techniques (mostly the aggressive topspin) and culture that he had witnessed in the US. He, by the way, still coaches. I have never seen anyone who loves tennis as much as he does.

The name Sud-Sud-Ouest means South-South-West in French. In French, they call athletes who are conscious of the latest trends and fashion sportif dans le vent (sportsman in the wind), so the name is in reference to the wind. Abbreviated, it is S20 (like H20). Sweatshirt ¥8,800; sweatpants ¥7,700 available on the website.
If you need to pick up a new set of balls, I recommend Penn from the US. They are affordable and they fly so well it feels good. For rackets, I prefer the Belgian Snauwaert. It was the preferred line by Rod Laver, Vitas Gerulaitis, Martina Navratilova, McEnroe. Although it is not that well known, I like its classic design.
Model height: 173 cm, sweatshirt size L, sweatpants size XL

Written by Ken Miyamoto
Photographed by Naoto Date