The History of The Class of Adidas | The Berlin Tennis Gallery

Updated: Aug 17


Source: berlintennisgallery.com The History of Adidas

The brand with three stripes was formed in the mid-1920s, Adolf “Adi” Dassler and his brother, Rudolf, began making shoes in their mother’s house under the name “Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory”. Perhaps most notably in those early days, Dassler got world-renowned sprinter Jesse Owens to wear

his handmade spikes during the 1936 summer Olympic Games. In 1949, Adi and Rudolph had a falling out, and Adi created what we now know as adidas. Horst Dassler, the son

of Adi, had the idea to create the first leather tennis shoe. The shoe was named the “Adidas Robert Haillet” after the French professional tennis player. When he retired, Adidas, with the help of American tennis manager Donald Dell, persuaded Stan Smith to wear the shoe. In 1971, Stan Smith wore the Adidas Haillet on his way to number one in the world rankings, though the shoes’ name didn’t change to “adidas Stan Smith” until 1978. 1971 also marked the first appearance of the iconic, and now retro, Trefoil logo.


This was only the start of adidas’ illustrious history with tennis greats.  Throughout the sixties and seventies, adidas could be found on the feet of Stan Smith and Illie Nastase. During the eighties and nineties, Ivan Lendl and Stefan Edberg wore the brand with three stripes, along with one of the greatest players of all time, Steffi Graf. Lendl even played with an Adidas tennis racquet for a while, the GTX Pro throughout the 1980s.


The very last wooden rackets to leave Adidas During the 70th and 80th, the best players in the world played with adidas rackets. adidas created some of the most iconic and beautiful rackets in the history of the game.

In early 1990, the company decided to withdraw from the tennis business. Those rackets which had been produced were not sold anymore. They remained in the storeroom of the adidas factory in Marmoutier, France for more than a decade before they were supposed to be disposed forever.  It was a stroke of luck that adidas decided to donate the very last wooden rackets to leave the adidas factory to The Berlin Tennis Gallery. The BTG received them the day before the facilities` permanent closure. Today, the rackets are are an integral part of the Berlin tennis exhibition.


The illustration is available as fine art print in the Berlin Tennis Gallery shop. Available as poster as well as high quality limited edition fine artwork.


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andreas.fixemer@berlintennisgallery.com

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