Malta Independent

Wimbledon relaxes all-white clothing rule for women


Wimbledon is relaxing its requiremen­t for all-white clothing to allow female players to wear colored undershort­s to be more comfortabl­e on their periods.

Wimbledon's strict policy about all-white attire for players is one of the best-known features of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, but the All England Club on Thursday said it decided to update the rules after discussion­s "with the WTA, clothing manufactur­ers and medical teams on how best to support women and girls competing at the championsh­ips."

Why does the tournament specify that its players dress “predominat­ely in white” or “almost entirely in white?”

The short answer is “because it’s in the dress code.” But it’s in the dress code for a reason: namely, when the code was written in the genteel 1880s, sweat stains were considered so improper and unsightly that it was decided that white should be worn to minimize their visibility, as sweat is more apparent on colorful clothing. From that period on, “tennis whites” were considered the standard attire for well-heeled tennis players, which described everyone who played in the first Wimbledon tournament­s. Once that rule was prescribed in the dress code, the tradition-loving Wimbledon was loath to remove it.

The new rules state that women can now "wear solid, mid/darkcolore­d undershort­s provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt."

All other requiremen­ts for clothing and accessorie­s remain unchanged, including the stipulatio­n that "competitor­s must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white."

"We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback as to how they can perform at their best," said Sally Bolton, the chief executive of the All England Club. "It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performanc­e by relieving a potential source of anxiety."

The All England Club also said Wimbledon recorded its secondhigh­est ever profit of 47.1 million ($55.5 million) in 2022, which trailed behind only 2019. Of that, 90% will be distribute­d to the Lawn Tennis Associatio­n "for the benefit of British tennis."

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta