If you’ve been following Wimbledon this year, you may have noticed something a little different in the women’s contest…
The tennis tournament has been around since 1877 and is a great believer in tradition. So much so that female players have had to abide by a certain dress code over the centuries. According to the Wimbledon rule book, players must be dressed entirely in white, including their undergarments.
“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.”
The rule has stood since Victorian times, but things become uncomfortable for women around that time of the month. Just ask any woman on her period and she will confirm that white is the one color she will strongly avoid.
Female players have been asking for years for the strict law to change, but it was only in November of last year that their plea was taken seriously. Wimbledon officials announced that they would make amends to the dress code, allowing “solid, mid/dark-coloured undershorts provided they are no longer than their shorts or skirt.”
And with the 2023 tournament now underway, we are seeing that reform in action for the first time.
Kazakhstani athlete, Elena Rybakina, was the first player to wear dark shorts during the competition.
“One thing is to deal on the court with your opponent, with your own stress and nerves, and if you have additional stress of thinking about the period and stuff, and if your skirt will get dirty, it’s additional stress which you don’t want to think about,” Rybanika explained. “So finally we’ve got this little adjustment, and I don’t think it’s gonna hurt the tournament, but for the players, for us, for the girls, it’s going to be such a big deal.”