August 12, 2022

Tennis players are revealing their frustrations with Wimbledon’s strict dress code – as social media actors have called it ‘sexist’ and ‘old fashioned’ that women may have to wear white while on their period.

White attire has been a tradition at Wimbledon since its inception, with lawn tennis being predominantly played in white since the game began in the late 19th century.

The reasons for wearing white clothes ranged from the color associated with wealth to the more functional reason that they covered sweat stains better than colored fabrics.

However, in recent days a number of players have spoken out against the strict dress code, with UK player Heather Watson telling The Times: “I walked off the pitch and looked and went, ‘Oh my God. Hope you can’t see this in the pictures.

Meanwhile, social media users are also campaigning for a dress code change, tweeting: ‘I love Wimbledon’. But as a former athlete who prayed before every major swimming meet that I wouldn’t get my period that day, I always wondered what female tennis players thought about being forced to wear white ( with limited bathroom breaks).

Tennis players are revealing their frustrations with Wimbledon’s strict dress code – as social media actors have called it ‘sexist’ and ‘old-fashioned’ that women may have to wear white on their period (Photo, Emma Raducanu)

Meanwhile, another wrote: “Wimbledon dress code tradition is actually wild when you think about it. Getting the girls to be white? What should happen when they have their period?

“The constant anxiety you would have about a potential leak. Free the girls to wear white, please.

A third added: ‘Why the hell does Wimbledon always force female tennis players to wear white regardless of whether the woman is on her period?

Rennae Stubbs told The Telegraph the conversation took place in the dressing room on several occasions, saying: “At Wimbledon you are very conscious of making sure everything is ‘ready to go’ by the time you step onto the court – make sure you have a tampon.

British player Heather Watson recalled how she walked off the court at Wimbledon and feared her period had leaked onto her white clothes

British player Heather Watson recalled how she walked off the court at Wimbledon and feared her period had leaked onto her white clothes

Rennae Stubbs said she was

Rennae Stubbs said she was ‘so paranoid’ during her period and wore white at Wimbledon (pictured in 2003)

“A lot of women have pads on top of that, or make sure they have an extra-large tampon before they hit the court.

The VERY strict Wimbledon dress code for tennis players going out on the court

The first clause of the ten-part decree issued by Wimbledon states: “Competitors must be dressed in appropriate tennis attire which is almost entirely white and this applies from the time the player enters the court enclosure. .”

The second clause clarifies that white does not mean the colors off-white or cream, while the third limits splashes of color to a single border around the neckline or sleeve cuff, and only 1cm in width.

The back of the players’ tops, which includes the shirts, dress, track tops and jerseys, must be completely white. The same applies to stockings, but only one colored trim is permitted along the outer seam, provided it is no wider than 1cm.

Accessories such as wristbands, caps, headbands and bandanas must also be completely white except for the only color trim.

Even undergarments are not allowed to be anything other than white if there is a possibility that they could be seen during play.

“I think that might be the only time I left the court at Wimbledon, when I got my period.”

Meanwhile, she also revealed how she once had to tell a rival that her period was leaking, quietly pulling her to the side to say “you should probably go to the bathroom”.

She told The Times: ‘You are so paranoid that this could happen to you.

Meanwhile, former Russian-born French player Tatiana Golovin said she preferred to wear “something darker”, adding: “For an athlete it’s very difficult to wear white because you have the photographers, you have photos everywhere, you slip on the ground, you fall, you play, your skirt flies away.

Three junior Wimbledon players were forced to change their underwear in 2017 because they failed to follow the rules.

The rules state that medical supports and equipment must also be white “if possible”.

As the sport became more popular and active, obscuring sweat by wearing white became a priority.

However, while wearing white was still the convention, the code became stricter in response to Ted Tinling’s women’s tennis dresses.

Tinling, a tennis player turned fashion designer, made waves when he designed a dress for Gertrude Moran in 1949 that revealed her silk undergarments beneath the short skirt.

He also added colored trim to the dresses of Joy Gannon and Betty Hilton, which eventually led to the Wimbledon committee ordering competitors to “wear all-white clothes”.

Tinling and Wimbledon clashed again in 1962, when he outfitted Brazilian player Maria Bueno in a dress that featured shocking pink lining.

The following year, Wimbledon ordered all players to wear “predominantly white” clothing.

Social media users slammed the dress code as 'sexist' and called it 'ridiculous' as women were required to wear white when playing whether or not they were menstruating.

Social media users slammed the dress code as ‘sexist’ and called it ‘ridiculous’ as women were required to wear white when playing whether or not they were menstruating.

In the 1970s, when the US Open became the first international tournament to allow colored clothing, Wimbledon dress codes relaxed enough to see champions such as Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert add pops of color to their outfits .

But over the following decades dress codes reverted to their original strictness, with the All England Lawn Tennis Club saying in 2017: “For us the all-white rule is not about fashion, it’s about is about letting the players and the tennis stand out.

“Everyone who walks on a Wimbledon court, from the defending champion to the qualifier, wears white.

‘It’s a great leveler. If a player wants to get noticed, they have to do it through their game. It’s a tradition we’re proud of.