After years of no changes, Wimbledon has decided to make one amendment to its rules and is relaxing its all-white clothing order for female players.
Prior to the change, all players — both male and female — had to wear all-white clothing for matches. Small colored trim details were permitted, but only very minuscule amounts.
The new amendment states women can now “wear solid, mid/dark-colored undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt.”
The rule was changed to make players who are having their period more comfortable during play. The next Wimbledon Championships will take place in 2023 from July 3 to July 16.
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Wimbledon’s organisers, the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club (AELTC), made the changes after discussions “with the [Women’s Tennis Association] WTA, clothing manufacturers and medical teams on how best to support women and girls competing at the championships,” according to a report from the Associated Press.
“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 CEO of AELTC, according to the AP.
“It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance by relieving a potential source of anxiety,” she added.
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Wimbledon’s strict dress code has led some players, and the sports brands that dress them, to get creative over the years. In 2016, Nike caused quite a stir when they unveiled dresses designed for female players.
At the time, the brand created a loose-fitting, super-short babydoll dress, which was referred to on Twitter as a “Nike nightie,” instead of sticking to its usual skirt and top ensembles.
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Although it stuck to Wimbledon’s strict all-white dress code, many of the players didn’t find the look too “tennis friendly.” Some wore leggings underneath, others put a headband around their waist as a makeshift belt, and Rebecca Peterson wore a long-sleeve shirt over the dress to keep it in place.
She told the New York Times“When I was serving, it was coming up, and I felt like the dress was just everywhere. In general, it’s quite simple, the dress, but it was flying everywhere.”