Wimbledon's particularly strict rules requiring all-white clothing for its players now comes with an exemption — female players can wear dark-colored undershorts beneath their skirts or shorts.
The change comes after current and former players described the stress of having to wear an all-white ensemble at the tennis tournament while on their menstrual periods. The organizers of Wimbledon said the new rule follows discussions with the Women's Tennis Association, clothing manufacturers and medical teams.
"This means that from next year, women and girls competing at The Championships will have the option of wearing colored undershorts if they choose," stated Sally Bolton, 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."
What is the Wimbledon Dress Code?
According to Wimbledon, the clothing and equipment rules are as follows:
The following refers to all clothing, including tracksuits and sweaters, worn on The Championship courts both for practice and for matches.
1) Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white* and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround.
2) White does not include off white or cream.
3) There should be no solid mass or panel of coloring*. A single trim of color around the neckline and around the cuff of the sleeves is acceptable but must be no wider than one centimeter (10mm).
4) Color contained within patterns will be measured as if it is a solid mass of color and should be within the one centimeter (10mm) guide. Logos formed by variations of material or patterns are not acceptable.
5) The back of a shirt, dress, tracksuit top or sweater must be completely white
6) Shorts, skirts and tracksuit bottoms must be completely white except for a single trim of color down the outside seam no wider than one centimeter (10mm).
7) Caps (including the underbill), headbands, bandanas, wristbands and socks must be completely white except for a single trim of color no wider than one centimeter (10mm).
8) Shoes must be almost entirely white. Soles and laces must be completely white. Large manufacturers’ logos are not encouraged. The grass court shoes must adhere to the Grand Slam rules. In particular shoes with pimples around the outside of the toes shall not be permitted. The foxing around the toes must be smooth.
9) Any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of color no wider than one centimeter (10mm), except female players who are allowed to wear solid, mid/dark-colored undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt.
10) Medical supports and equipment should be white if possible but may be colored if absolutely necessary. A more relaxed dress code operates at the Aorangi Park practice courts.
The Big Change for Female Players
Now an asterisk has been added to the rules, permitting female players to wear solid, mid/dark-colored undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt."
Former Puerto Rican player Monica Puig tweeted in May about the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks, in addition to how a period can affect a player's performance.
Australian player Daria Saville said she had altered her period specifically because of the tournament's dress code. "I myself had to skip my period around Wimbledon for the reason that I didn't want to worry about bleeding through, as we already have enough other stress.”