Founder's Story

Launching a tennis-apparel company during a global pandemic? No sweat.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved tennis. Growing up in New Jersey, some of the fondest memories from my youth were those scorching summer months when I had the opportunity to play my favorite sport outside for four months straight. As my serve improved, though, there was one thing that always hurt my game — sweaty shorts

Basically, every time I stepped up to the baseline to serve, I reached into my drenched pocket and pulled out a soaking-wet ball. I tossed the ball up in the air, and as soon as my racquet made contact, I was sprayed with sweat. Even worse, my opponent saw the “sweat tsunami” coming his way and ran for cover. It wasn’t a great feeling — and pretty distracting, too. In fact, I became so consumed with avoiding having a wet tennis ball that I completely lost my focus — and the match.

When I moved to California in my 20s, I had the opportunity to play tennis all-year round — which also meant my soaking-wet pockets hurt my game, all-year round. There had to be a better product out there. I just needed to find shorts with waterproof but breathable pockets, that were also accessible for quick tennis-ball retrieval.

They didn’t exist. 

Fast-forward 15 years to 2017, and I moved with my family to South Florida, a fresh start where I could play tennis outdoors in the sunshine every day. However, that nagging problem from decades earlier got the best of me — as did this global pandemic. No longer travelling incessantly for work, I did a hard reset on what was important to me: my health, my family, my game...and my dream of starting a company that really mattered to me.

With no time like the present, I seized this crazy year and embraced my entrepreneurial spirit, combining my engineering degree with my love of the game to develop my own product. Partnering with my amazing wife Danielle, we launched The Fifth Set. After tirelessly testing various combinations of materials, I finally landed on a patented design: it looks great, feels even better, and offers a solution to my lifelong tennis obsession.

Top-quality, breathable tennis apparel with easily accessible, sweatproof pockets. The Fifth Set shorts were born with the aim of helping athletes, at every level, ace the most gruelling — and sweaty — encounters in comfort and style. 

Sweat hard, play dry. See you on the court!

Yoni Malchi
Founder & CEO
The Fifth Set