Stan Smith is a humble, unassuming fashion muse. Born in Pasadena, California, he started playing tennis when he was 16. He went on to win the US Open in 1971 and then Wimbledon the following year. It was at this point that Adidas approached him to be an ambassador for its relatively new all-leather tennis shoe, and his agent made sure that his face appeared on the tongue of the shoe. A world No. 1 tennis player and two-time Grand Slam singles champion, Smith also formed with his partner Bob Lutz one of the most successful doubles teams of all time. Together, they won many major titles all over the world. In 1970, Smith won the first-year end championship Masters Grand Prix title. Smith's two major singles titles were the 1971 US Open, and 1972 Wimbledon. In 1972, he was the year-ending world No. 1 singles player.
His 6-feet 4-inch frame was less of a hindrance on court and with coach Pancho Segura honing his raw talent, Smith quickly became a potent force in the men's game. With a rapid serve and a deft touch at the net, Smith's game was suited to both singles and doubles and he soon cemented a place on the US Davis Cup team.
He played collegiate tennis at the University of Southern California (USC), under Coach George Toley, where he was a three-time All-American and won the 1968 NCAA Singles Championship as well as the 1967 and 1968 doubles titles. Smith was an American Davis Cup stalwart, capturing 35 of 43 matches altogether in singles and doubles, spearheading his country almost single-handedly past the heavily favored Romanians in the 1972 final at Bucharest. On the clay courts of Bucharest, he struck down US Open champion Nastase and Ion Tiriac in singles and took the doubles alongside Erik Van Dillen in arguably the grittiest and greatest performance ever given by an American Davis Cup competitor. Although Smith remained one of the game’s great doubles players, claiming his last major alongside old partner Bob Lutz at the 1980 US Open.
To non-tennis players, Stan Smith is probably best known for the line of tennis shoes which Adidas renamed after him in 1978. Although the Adidas Stan Smith shoe is not recommended for modern tennis playing, it continues to be a widely available iconic fashion brand. For many, though, the name stamped on the iconic sports shoe remains something of a mystery -- despite being a two-time grand slam singles champion. While Smith's exploits on the tennis court may have lost in the mists of time, his eponymous shoes have lived on in the public consciousness selling more than 40 million pairs for the German sportswear company Adidas -- their bestselling shoe of all time.
Australian open: 3R (1970, 1975, 1977)
French Open: QF (1971, 1972)
Wimbledon: W (1972)
US Open: W (1971)
Australian open: W (1970)
French Open: F (1971, 1974)
Wimbledon: F (1972, 1974, 1980, 1981)
US Open: W (1968, 1974, 1978, 1980)