Yes the title is a little misleading since Tinker Hatfield hadn’t designed the Air Oscillate yet, but that doesn’t make the statement untrue.
Nike’s most popular tennis player of all time is? Andre Agassi, hands down. But Nike’s other major American star, Pete Sampras, had more titles. For many, that is all that matters (cue LeBron vs Kobe debate). For Nike, the two were the perfect yin and yang; one was brash and bold with long hair. The other was quiet, reserved, and had chest hair as long as the hair on top of his head. One had worn different signature models and apparel throughout the year. The other liked to stick to the same thing over and over.
I’m sure Nike had plenty of problems with Sampras’ approach since he was stickler for consistency. He is known for using the same racquet (Wilson Pro Staff 6.0) and same grip (Tourna Grip) his whole career. And who could complain? The combination usually turned out to be a winning one. It was no surprise to hear that he hated getting a new model of sneaker to wear. He even use to have the Swoosh put on pairs of old Wilson pairs he enjoyed because he didn’t want to change.
When Sampras arrived at the 1994 Wimbledon tournament wearing a sneaker with some color it, it was a bit of a surprise. It was even more surprising that the officials allowed him to wear the Nike Air Max2 Sweep since they had so much blue on them. If you think the NBA and NFL are tough on dress code, just look up Wimbledon’s all-white rules. Apparently they worked out for him, as he won his second consecutive Wimbledon championship beating Goran Ivanišević in straight sets 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-0. He would go on to win seven Wimbledon’s, many while wearing the Air Oscillate, but 1994 belonged to the Air Max2 Sweep.