Wimbledon has relaxed its strict dress code after female tennis players reported period anxiety and worry about playing in all-whites at the tournament.
Wimbledon has announced a change to its all-white dress code for women, allowing them to play in coloured shorts under their tennis skirts. The change has been introduced after the Women’s Tennis Association raised concerns over previous and current players’ anxiety about playing in white when on their period.
In a statement, Sally Bolton, liquid clomiphene cycle the chief executive of All England Club that hosts Wimbledon, alluded to the fact that this was not a step taken lightly, saying: “I am pleased to confirm that, following consultation with players and representatives of several stakeholder groups, the Committee of Management has taken the decision to update the white clothing rule at Wimbledon.
“This means that from next year, women and girls competing at The Championships will have the option of wearing coloured undershorts if they choose.
“It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance by relieving a potential source of anxiety.”
Periods in sports is a matter that is finally coming into the spotlight, both in terms of how the monthly-or-so bleeds impact performance and the freedom women should have to dress comfortably during them.
In June, former British number one Heather Watson told BBC Sport that periods are “absolutely something the players talk about around Wimbledon because of the all-whites”. Earlier this month, tennis legend Billie Jean King told CNN: “My generation, we always worried because we wore all white all the time. It’s what you wear underneath that’s important for your menstrual period. We’re always checking whether we’re showing. You get tense about it.”
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The change in tennis follows other sports that have changed outfits to support women during their periods. In football, teams including Stoke City, West Bromwich Albion, Swansea, Manchester City and Bristol have all introduced dark-coloured shorts for their women’s teams.
The all-white rule has been in place since Wimbledon began in 1870, with the new rules stating that mid- to dark-coloured shorts can be worn by women so long as they are not longer than the white skirts over the top.
Wimbledon has previously been strict on women who deviated from the 152-year ban on colours. In 2007, Tatiana Golovin made headlines for wearing red knickers, while in 2014 it was reported that female players, including British player Naomi Broady, were forced to remove coloured bras and play with no support.
Outside of Wimbledon, other female tennis players have been criticised for the way they dress. Most memorable was the French Open banning one-piece suits after Serena Williams wore a powerful black catsuit on the court in 2018. Hopefully, this centuries-late change will welcome in a new era of comfort and support in tennis and beyond.
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