HEART OF A CHAMPION: Bally's 1851 Champion Sneaker
Text by Justin Ng | Photos courtesy of Bally
The Bally Champion sneaker worn by Rosset and Hlasek was plucked from the vault there, dusted off, reexamined and then reintroduced for today’s generation.
Multi-component rubber outer sole; herringbone mould with new EVA midsole; perforated uppers on the lace-up with an airy mesh lining; and a tongue embossed archival Bally Tennis logo
The Champion was also reissued in the Kuba, the same colorway that Hlasek wore during the ATP World Tour in 1991. (“Kuba” is one of Hlasek’s nicknames.)

Everyone loves an underdog story. The Roland Garros men’s doubles tournament — held in Paris — in 1992 was one such occasion. On top of the prolific Australian pair consisting of Mark Woodforde and Todd Woodbridge, the French Open field also carried multiple major titleholders including the likes of Sergio Casal, Rick Leach, and Emilio Sanchez, former world number ones in Jim Grabb, David Pate and Kelly Jones as well as a host of tennis veterans — including both McEnroe brothers. Yet, despite this strong pool of talent with all their illustrious accolades, none of the listed players above won. Rather, the ones who ended up lifting the prestigious Jacques-Brugnon Cup were neither seeds nor favourites. Instead, it was Jakob Hlasek and Marc Rosset who were the last men standing after a competitive three-set final versus South African David Adams and Russian Andrei Olhovskiy. And what the Swiss duo stood on was indicative of the result: Hlasek and Rosset both wore Bally Champions. And now, Bally is dusting off the former underdog champion sneakers from the vault and relaunching it again for some millennial appreciation outside of their Roger Federers and Rafael Nadals. In other words, you’ll be hitting the courts knowing you’ll always have a fighter's chance even if the opponent across the net is twice your weight class. And, while you won't be the favourite to win, who doesn’t like an underdog?

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