Wimbledon Ramp Up: Interview with Grand Slam Tennis Tours, Kyle Ross

Back in September, Grand Slam Tennis Tours invited Hedge to be their official apparel partner at Wimbledon 2017. We were delighted, said yes, and have since had a wonderful time getting to know them. We are very much looking forward to working with them. We have outfitted the staff at the hospitality house on Wimbledon grounds and will have a pop-up shop there for the two weeks. Come and visit! 85 Home Park Road, Wimbledon. Here's a link to their site to learn more about the amazing experiences they can provide for tennis lovers.


HEDGE: Can you describe your customer? Where and on what level do they generally play?

GSTT: Our guests are American and international, generally 40-65, and passionate about tennis. Many play, and join us for clinics at each event, but there’s a strong group that are strictly watchers, often with us supporting a spouse’s passion for the game. We’ve had first-timers out on the courts with us, and we’ve had collegiate, national and club champions.

HEDGE: You travel the world with GSTT; which is your favorite tournament you attend? And why? I loved the Monte Carlo Instagram pics!

GSTT: The Monte Carlo event is definitely a staff favorite, but I think our Wimbledon and Australian events are my personal tops. Each presents two highly distinctive views of what a world class tennis experience can be, and they’re so unique in vibe and atmosphere that I can’t choose between them.

HEDGE: We love to read…do you have any favorite tennis books that are inspiring to share?

GSTT: I cherish my signed copy of Agassi’s Open, and David Foster Wallace has written some great pieces on tennis, including his essay capturing the experience of watching Roger Federer.

HEDGE: I imagine you and your fellow staff are all amazing tennis players. What do you like to wear? Is there anything you can’t find that you like to wear?

GSTT: We all play tennis to varying degrees. Andrew Chmura, president of GSTT, was a top-ranked junior and played at Notre Dame, while Laura, our marketing and design manager, took her first lessons last week. By the nature of our work, we all have a lot of tennis gear, but there is definitely a challenge in finding clothes that let us transition freely when we’re out on tour with our clients. Sporty works great when we’re just playing tennis, but when we leave the court to meet an important client and we show up in our tennis gear it’s not the best feeling.

HEDGE: How do you feel about the white attire regulations?

GSTT: Personally, I like them and at this point it’s almost ironic that the traditional regulations are lending diversity to the tennis apparel scene by mandating still white. If these regulations disappear, we lose an aspect of tennis heritage, and we lose the genre of all-white tennis clothing.

HEDGE: Who is the most entertaining player to watch on TV?

GSTT: That’s a great question because it often depends on an opponent. On any given day, I’ll take Nick Kyrgios, Gael Monfils or Fabio Fognini, because you never quite know what you might get and they kind of bring their own show. Otherwise, I’ll tune in to Rafa and Roger all day.

HEDGE: Hedge is looking to sponsor some young players, are there any young ladies out there showing promise that you feel would be a good fit for us?

GSTT: Great question. I think there are young ladies out there who would love to wear Hedge, and I would love to see Hedge on the WTA Tour. Off-hand, most of the players coming to mind are in other gear, but I think Hedge is unique in the way it offers such versatile court-wear and getting some young players in a Dune dress might compel some interest!

HEDGE: Do you stay in your workout gear all day? Do you ever wear your tennis shirts or shirts for other occasions off the court? Staff poll-do you like tennis shirts with collar, or no collar?

GSTT: Informal staff poll confirms we prefer collars and I’d say that’s especially true when on tour with clients. We play at some of the nicest clubs in the world and our staff needs to maintain a certain image while we’re hosting guests. Collars help, and workout gear versatile enough to walk into a café or lunch helps, as well.

HEDGE: Playing on grass is very intimidating, do you have any recommendations if you’re used to playing on Har-tru for adjusting to grass?

GSTT: I’m hardly an expert, but I have been lucky enough to get some great time on grass at Roehampton in London and Kooyong in Melbourne. I’d suggest keeping a short, agile swing and trying to hit volleys when you can, but mostly I’d recommend taking a deep breath and enjoying the fact that you’re out there playing tennis on grass; it’s a treat.

HEDGE: Thank you so much for your thoughts and time Kyle, we can't wait to see you at Wimbledon!

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