Wimbledon will relax the white dress rule to allow female players to wear dark-colored underpants if they wish, organizers announced on Thursday.
The decision comes after the tournament and organizers have been under increasing pressure to address concerns about whether blood is visible on white clothing of players who are menstruating.
“We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback on how to best perform,” Sally Bolton, CEO of the All England Club, said in a statement.
“I am pleased to confirm that, after consultation with players and representatives from various interest groups, the Management Committee has taken the decision to update the white clothing rule at Wimbledon.
“This means women and girls competing in The Championships from next year will have the option of wearing colored underpants if they wish.
“We hope this rule change will help players focus purely on their performance by removing a potential source of anxiety.”
Until Thursday’s announcement, Wimbledon still had a rigid all-white dress code, first implemented to camouflage sweat stains.
Tournament organizers were under pressure to relax the strict dress code, and during this year’s tournament, campaigners gathered at SW19 with signs reading “About bloody time” and “Address the dress code”.
Several women, including former Olympic champion Monica Puig and Australian tennis player Daria Saville, spoke of the “mental stress” caused by the all-white dress code and the “skipping periods” as a result.
And in a recent interview with DailyExpertNews’s Amanda Davies, tennis great Billie Jean King explained that the dress code caused fear for her and her fellow competitors.
“My generation, we were always worried because we always wore white,” King told DailyExpertNews’s Amanda Davies.
“And it’s what you wear underneath that matters for your period.
Billie Jean King reveals ‘pet peeve’ is Wimbledon’s ‘appalling’ all-white uniform policy
– Source: DailyExpertNews
“And we are always looking to show it. You get tense about it because the first thing we are are entertainers and you want whatever you’re wearing to look flawless, look great,” she said.
King also pointed out that the all-white dress code makes it difficult for fans trying to differentiate between players on the field.
“Nothing is worse in sport than when you turn on the television and two players are wearing the same kit or outfits. It’s terrible. Nobody knows who is who.
‘This is one of my pet peeves, I’ve been screaming for years. Have you ever seen a sport where the people on each side wear the same outfit?” she added.
Wimbledon runs from July 3 to July 16, 2023.