Wimbledon may be WimbleDONE with *that* ridiculous all-white uniform rule because it seems the competition has finally realised the stress it places on players who menstruate. And also that it’s pretty weird to be so controlling about what colour underwear players are allowed to wear.
According to the current dress code guidelines, “competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white”, which includes undies and bras worn under uniforms.
“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 colour no wider than one centimetre (10mm),” the archaic rule reads.
It’s worth noting Wimbledon is also the only tournament that has such rigid all-white clothing rules. Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnesc was made to change her bra just before her Wimbledon match last year because it wasn’t white.
The rule has been standard for yonks, but following criticisms from players who admitted to having to skip their period to avoid the anxiety of bleeding through their white shorts, it looks like the tournament is reconsidering its relevance.
“Prioritising women’s health and supporting players based on their individual needs is very important to us, and we are in discussions with the WTA (World Tennis Association), with manufacturers and with the medical teams about the ways in which we can do that,” the All England Club said in a statement on Tuesday.
According to multiple reports, the club is considering changing the dress code so it only applies to overgarments and not underwear.
The change will reportedly come into effect in 2023 and apply to all players, not just those who identify as women, making it inclusive too. Now that’s a serve.
It comes off the back of comments made by tennis legend Billie Jean King, who told CNN the rule was outdated and unnecessarily stressful for players.
— CNN (@CNN) November 7, 2022
“My generation, we always worried because we wore all white all the time. And it’s what you wear underneath that’s important for your menstrual period,” she told CNN.
“And we’re always checking whether we’re showing. You get tense about it because the first thing we are is entertainers and you want whatever you wear to look immaculate, look great. We’re entertainers. We’re bringing it to the people.”
The last year has seen a growing discourse from female players who revealed they skipped their periods to avoid being stressed about leaking. Others suggested young girls might be dissuaded from getting into tennis professionally because of the anxiety around bleeding in public.
Definitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyone’s attention! Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks. https://t.co/PzyHnPlSJk
— Monica Puig (@MonicaAce93) May 31, 2022
“Recently just being at Wimbledon, I was talking with my friends saying that I love the all-white look. But then a few girls said they hate it because it sucks to wear all white while being on your period,” Aussie Daria Gavrilova told The Daily Aus last year.
“It’s true, 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.”
Hopefully no player will have to face that stress starting from next year. We love to see it.