Today Umbro is best known for our football boots and kits, but over our 89 years we've crafted clothing for almost every sport imaginable. As Wimbledon begins here in the UK this week, we thought this would be a great time to look back at the time when Umbro was also well known for our fine tennis designs, thanks to a collaboration with a fascinating man called Teddy Tinling.
From the late 1950s, Umbro worked with Tinling to craft tennis kits for men and women, with his designs being worn by Wimbledon winners in three separate decades. Tinling had what you might call an interesting life - he was a professional tennis player himself during his early years, before serving as a Lieutenant-Corporal in the Second World War. Years later, it was actually revealed that Tinling had actually worked as a British Intelligence spy during the conflict.
Returning to the world of tennis after the war, Teddy Tinling began to design innovative clothing that fitted the needs of the sport, while also working as a player liaison at Wimbledon. Controversially, he designed a pair of lace underpants for female players in 1949 that were completely visible during games - the first time this style was ever seen. Tinling was asked to leave his post at Wimbledon due to the controversy surrounding his daring design, but he continued to create innovative sports clothing.
Teddy Tinling sadly passed away in 1990 at the age of 79, but we thought now was a great time to look back over his interesting life and his many achievements. We might not make tennis clothing any more, but we take that same spirit of collaboration and innovation into everything we do!