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Historical change. Wimbledon eases strict white dress code to make women feel more comfortable

Beyond its legendary tradition and its strict rules, Wimbledon, the most prestigious tennis competition on the world circuit, in recent times has given various signs of modernity and adaptation to new scenarios. Now, the British Grand Slam announced that he will soften his rules next season and will allow players to wear dark underwear (until this year, prohibited) so that they feel more comfortable when wearing white clothes during the days of menstruation.

“Following discussion and engagement with the WTA, apparel manufacturers and medical teams on how best to support women and girls competing at The Championships [Wimbledon]the Administration Committee made the decision to update the tournament’s white clothing rule to allow competitors to wear medium/dark colored clothing or colored undergarments if they so desire.

Serena Williams, in 2002, on the grass at WimbledonGERRY PENNY – AFP

“The requirements for other garments -they continued-, accessories and equipment remain unchanged.”

Sally Bolton, CEO of the All England Club, said: “We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback on how they can perform at their best.. I am pleased to confirm that, after consultation with players and representatives of various stakeholder groups, the decision was made to update the white dress rule at Wimbledon. This means that starting next year, women and girls competing will have the option of wearing colored undergarments if they wish.. We hope this rule adjustment will help players focus solely on their performance by alleviating a potential source of anxiety.”

The internal debate about the use of white clothing is not new, but it was intensified in the last edition of Wimbledon, when several tennis players referred to the “anxiety” they suffered from being forced to compete in this color when they had their period. Coinciding with the women’s final between the Tunisian Ons Jabeur and the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (finally, the champion), a group of activists organized a protest outside the All England Club in which the protesters wore a white skirt over a pair of shorts color “blood red”, under the motto “Address the dress code”, which urged the organization to change its clothing policy.

The Polish Iga Swiatek, number 1 in the world
The Polish Iga Swiatek, number 1 in the worldShaun Botterill – Getty Images Europe

“It is an issue that must be made public because it causes mental stress,” said Puerto Rican tennis player Mónica Puig, winner of the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. The Canadian player Rebecca Marino also spoke, in The Times: “It is the worst fear of all, living with the thought that your period will come at Wimbledon and you do not expect it.”

Tennis is not the only professional sport in which women have called for changes. The players of the English soccer team, for example, asked the team’s clothing firm to change the color of their pants. “Having a white kit is not practical at a certain time of the month,” said soccer player Beth Mead. Her teammate, Georgia Stanway, spoke of the clash between tradition and comfort. “We know it’s difficult because we all associate England with the color white, but it’s something that concerns us as a group of women.”

For now, Wimbledon listened to the complaints and took an important step beyond its strict rules. The next edition of the Grand Slam on grass will begin on July 3, 2023.

THE NATION

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