French Open 2017: Absent stars rob Roland Garros of fashion wow moment

    Paris (CNN)With Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Roger Federer and Victoria Azarenka all missing from Roland Garros, fashion watchers are wondering: Where's that showstopping moment?

    The outfits of the four tennis stars, who are all sponsored by American clothing giant Nike, usually prompts endless questions in press conferences and debates on social media about who has come up with the best outfit.
    This year in Paris, things are considerably more muted in the fashion stakes, noted Ben Rothenberg, who wrote the book "The Stylish Life: Tennis."
      "This is a quieter fashion tournament because we don't have four of the biggest runway-model tennis stars here," Rothenberg, who is also a tennis contributor to The New York Times, told CNN at Roland Garros.
      Williams, Sharapova, Federer and Azarenka "are all big enough stars to get their own, unique outfits," Rothenberg said.
      Nike had already made the French Open outfits for Sharapova, who was denied a wild card into the French Open on May 17 after a 15-month doping ban.

      Fashion icon

      Since winning Wimbledon in 2004, the Russian has become a fashion icon both on and off the court.
      Her showstoppers include a stylish black outfit inspired by Audrey Hepburn's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" dress at the 2006 US Open and a classic blue-and-white outfit inspired by 1920s French tennis star Suzanne Lenglen at Roland Garros in 2008.
      "Sharapova had outfits for all five slams she has missed out on, there is a missing era of Sharapova fashion going on now," said Rothenberg.
      Sharapova poses for a portrait inside the Rome Colosseum.

      Playing it safe

      "Everyone has kind of been safe this year," said Bethanie Mattek-Sands, the world No. 1 in doubles who is best known for wearing some of the most memorable creations in recent years, including a tennis ball dress at a pre-Wimbledon party and a cowboy-inspired jacket at Wimbledon.
      Even Venus Williams played it relatively safe this year in Paris.
      After sporting perhaps the most Parisian of all tennis outfits when she took to the court of the 2010 French Open with skin toned underwear by her Eleven brand underneath a lacy, Moulin Rouge-like creation, the American opted for a diamond-inspired dress this year.
      Last year tennis fans visiting Roland Garros may have been forgiven for thinking they had entered a safari park instead of a grand slam event after dozens of players appeared in matching zebra print outfits by Yohji Yamamoto's Y-3 label for Adidas.
      Although the black-and-white stripes looked striking on the red clay, some fashion watchers on social media wondered if two zebras were on the loose when Austrian star Dominic Thiem and German Alexander Zverev played each other wearing the exact same Adidas outfit.
      "I actually really liked the zebra prints, I know some people hated it but I actually really liked that stuff," said Mattek-Sands, who ended the comeback of two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova at Roland Garros wearing a sleeveless white top covered with cherries by Jofit matched with her trademark long black compression socks.
      "I was wearing the shoes last year and they were amazing. I would say, nothing has impressed me more than that," added the American.
      Bethanie Mattek-Sands is pictured playing against Sam Stosur.

      Outfit of house painter?

      This year, Adidas has gone for a more traditional look, according to Rothenberg.
      "They have also done a good job giving enough different permutations in the clothing," he said.
      "We haven't seen very many matches with two players in identical outfits. It's always the peak of ridiculousness when you see two men or women competing in the same thing."
      Although Garbine Muguruza and Kristina Mladenovic are both sponsored by Adidas, they wore different outfits in their tempestuous fourth-round clash.
      Muguruza, last year's winner from Spain, wore a black-and-white dress designed by Stella McCartney for Adidas, while the Frenchwoman moved to her first Roland Garros quarterfinals in a green-and-white outfit.
      "For this collection we wanted to encompass the colours and style of Roland Garros within the design, which is why we've focused on colour blocking in the traditional green associated with the tournament as well as classic tennis silhouettes," said design director for Adidas Tennis Lotta Jurica.
      This year, Nike's tie dye outfits have come under scrutiny at Roland Garros.
      Although the Portland, Oregon-based company called its white splatters on blue tennis shorts or skirts "an energetic print inspired by the scatter and grit of clay court during furious games" it has been likened to the outfit of a house painter by some.
      With all grand slam champions losing before the quarterfinals in the women's draw, a new women's champion will lift the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen on Saturday.
      "Maybe when one of the new women win a slam this year right here, they will earn the right to have their own outfits," Rothenberg said.