Sue Barker, Billie Jean King and Tracy Austin have discussed the need for a rule change at Wimbledon, with the all-white dress code making life dif
Sue Barker, Billie Jean King and Tracy Austin have discussed the need for a rule change at Wimbledon, with the all-white dress code making life difficult for female competitors who may come on their period mid-tournament. Tennis star Daria Saville recently spoke out on the issue, admitting that she had to skip her period to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
The Wimbledon dress code currently demands that competitors wear ‘almost entirely white attire’, as has broadly been the case since the 1870s. Despite the long-running tradition, the code has been subject to recent criticism, with some believing it to be out-dated.
Saville is among those to have spoken out about it, which Barker and co believe to be a refreshing topic in the female side of the sport and something they could not have discussed openly when they were competing. Saville admitted to The Daily Aus: “I myself had to skip my period around Wimbledon for the reason that I didn’t want to worry about bleeding through. We already have enough stress.”
Barker, King and Austin, who have an enviable haul of 15 Grand Slam titles between them, discussed the issue further on the BBC this Thursday.
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“I am really glad the players are speaking out,” said Barker, before King responded: “Isn’t it great they can now? We could never talk about this. This is great, it is much healthier.”
Barker added: “I think the All England Club need to look at it. They can still dress in all white dress or skirt but just allow players at any time if they want to wear a colour underneath.” King then reminisced: “Do you remember how hard we fought to get some colour? We had to be 51, predominantly white, and now we’re back to white. I don’t like everyone wearing the same colour.”
Two-time Grand Slam champion Tracy Austin continued: “We played with a lot of colour back in the day I remember. But I think this is very important. I love the tradition of white at Wimbledon but for the women, we are nervous enough when we go out on court about playing well but I think there should be some leniency and flexibility.”
Dress code controversy has also spilled over onto the men’s side of the draw, with Nick Kyrgios perhaps predictably taking centre stage. The Aussie had a frosty exchange with a reporter who questioned his choice to wear red trainers and a red cap while on court and gearing up to face Brandon Nakashima, to which Kyrgios responded: “I do what I want.”
The All England Club are seemingly under growing pressure to alter their longstanding dress code, despite some speaking out in favour of tradition. Saville admitted that she ‘loves’ the all-white look, but others see it as a source of stress.
British tennis star Heather Watson was in a similar boat, claiming before this year’s tournament got underway: “I’ll probably go on the pill just to skip my period for Wimbledon. That’s the thought process and conversations that girls have about it.”