29 May 2020

Bandanas for bad hair days

Lockdown has not been a good time for hair. From outgrown bobs to partner-trimmed pony tails, the nation is looking distinctly unkempt. So if you don’t want your floppy fringe getting in your eyes as you get back on court, it's time to get yourself a bandana.

Pic, Stefanos Tsitsipas, by Kate Tann through CC

Everyone has bad hair days. Few of us, however, have them quite as badly as Andre Agassi whose lion-mane hair was, he revealed in his autobiography Open, actually a wig. The night before the 1990 French Open final he was taking a shower when disaster struck and the wig fell apart.  With help and 20 borrowed bobby pins, he patches it together.

“Warming up before the match, I pray. Not for a win, but for my hairpiece to stay on. Under normal circumstances, playing in my first final of a slam, I’d be tense. But my tenuous hairpiece has me catatonic. Whether or not it’s slipping, I imagine that it’s slipping. With every lunge, every leap, I picture it landing on the clay ... I can hear a gasp from the crowd. I can picture millions of people suddenly leaning closer to their TVs, turning to each other and in dozens of languages and dialects some version of: Did Andre Agassi’s hair just fall off?”

He lost.


Pat Cash made the chequered flag of a bandadna his winning trademark

Nadal famously wears a bandana, tying it, Vogue has noted hachimachi-style, as if going into battle. For Federer, who is never without one on court, it's an altogether neater, politer affair while Borg's headband was essential, rolled down like a big rubber ring, to keep his long hair from flying around his face. Perhaps most memorable of all was Pat Cash’s chequered flag of a bandadna which always had more than a whiff of the local constabularly about it. 

Women tennis players are not quite so famous for their headbands but Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Coco Gauff and Petra Kvitova are among those who know how to work a hair accessessory, while the twenties star Suzanne Lenglen looked half-flapper, half-tennis player in hers.

Now the next generation of players (including Stefanos Tsitsipas, above) are trying the bandana on for size.

The stakes may not be as high for you as they were for Agassi but if you want to keep your lockdown locks locked down - and are fed up with making facemasks -  here is a DIY guide to making your own bandana from a scarf...

...to making a headhand...

...or, if you must, to making a facemask from a bandana

To get playing, find your nearest league at http://localtennisleagues.com/leagues