The Wimbledon event is without doubt one of the oldest and arguably most prestigious tennis occasions on this planet.
The all-white grass-court Grand Slam costume code for athletes can also be outdated and has a popularity of its personal.
After criticism from prime athletes and advocacy teams, gamers will now be capable to put on coloured shorts to be extra comfy throughout their interval.
“We’re dedicated to supporting gamers and listening to their suggestions on how they will carry out at their finest,” Sally Bolton, chief govt of the All England Membership, mentioned in an announcement on Thursday. “We hope this rule tweak will assist gamers focus purely on their efficiency, assuaging a possible supply of tension.”
Strain to vary an antiquated rule
Match guidelines, which state that “opponents have to be wearing acceptable tennis apparel, nearly completely white”, now have an asterisk for the “offered exception for feminine gamers”, permitting them to “put on plain, medium coloured shorts /darkish, so long as they are not longer than your shorts or skirt.
Beforehand, the event was so inflexible that referees might, and did, power gamers to vary below menace of disqualification.
Within the early 2010s, a number of tennis gamers, together with Serena Williams, tried to affect progress and opted to put on coloured underwear. Nevertheless, Wimbledon launched an up to date costume code in 2014, stipulating that underwear have to be white. Venus Williams was requested to vary mid-match in 2017 after her pink bra was displaying.
Exterior strain for change got here to a head this summer time.
Former Olympic champion Monica Puig and Australian tennis participant Daria Saville have even spoken out in regards to the “psychological stress” attributable to the all-white costume code and “skipping intervals” consequently.
If all that wasn’t sufficient, followers and the Girls’s Tennis Affiliation (WTA) staged protests at Wimbledon with the slogan “Adopte the Gown Code” on a number of posters.
Months later, tennis nice Billie Jean King known as the rule “horrible” and an “irritation” of hers in an interview with CNN. “My era, we at all times anxious as a result of we wore white on a regular basis,” mentioned King. “And it is what you put on beneath that is vital to your interval.”
Following the publication of King’s feedback, stories emerged within the British media in early November suggesting that Wimbledon would calm down its all-white underwear guidelines for tennis gamers.
Now that we’re all within the twenty first century, it is tempting to look again and see why the rule existed and continued for thus lengthy. Another choice, nevertheless, is to look ahead. Wimbledon has extra girls in tennis administration than ever earlier than.
Bolton, who introduced the rule change, turned the primary feminine chief govt of the All England Garden Tennis Membership in 2019.
In the meantime, former British No. 1 participant Laura Robson is taking her first main steps into tennis administration, becoming a member of the All England Membership’s skilled tennis workforce and taking the function of event director on the Rothesay Open in Nottingham in June. .
Robson will work on worldwide participant relations at Wimbledon alongside former Andy Murray supervisor Jamie Delgado, who has additionally been given a brand new function.