This year Wimbeldon is going to be whiter than ever as the tournament referee, Andrew Jarrett, has announced a clampdown.
“Players may break their all-white outfits only with a coloured trim of 1cm width, and only on the edge of their garments. It is the marginalisation of colour. There is not a great deal you can do with a centimetre of permission, but I’m sure some players will have fun experimenting,” The Guardian‘s Paula Cocozza explains the new rules of clothing.
“According to the Times, the new rule also covers underwear, including those items that become “visible during play … due to perspiration”. So there goes the fluorescent bra. Rule-breakers will be loaned a compliant outfit from a “supply of suitable clothing” – a bit like the spare PE kit cupboard in school,” she adds.
The referee’s specifications may seem really pernickety, but in fact they belie a laxness at the heart of the All England Club’s rules on dress.
Players must wear “almost entirely white clothes”, claims a stipulation of 1995 which was establishe to update and clarify the “predominantly in white” rule, which dated back to 1963.
Pat Cash, the former Wimbledon champion, negatively reacted to the news rules, claiming that women players at this year’s tournament have been forced to play bra-less.
Cash revealed that some of the men were upset over the rules as well, saying: “One of the players was called into the referees’ office because he had blue underwear that showed through when he got sweaty, so he was told not to wear dark underwear.”
She went on, adding: “Some of the girls have been told to go back and change their bras and tops because they had slight colour on them. I believe some of the girls didn’t have suitable sports bras and had to go without them. It has absolutely gone ridiculous.”
BBC Radio 5 Live Cash said: “Some of the girls have been told to go back and change their bras and tops because they had slight colour on them. I believe some of the girls didn’t have suitable sports bras and had to go without them. It has absolutely gone ridiculous.”
He later pulled out of the tournament – in which he was set to participate – to express his attitude towards the new rules after his own training shoes fell foul of the new regulations. He said that last time he played without the specially adapted shoes, he suffered an injury. “It’s archaic thinking,” he said.
Cash added: “One of the players was called into the referees’ office because he had blue underwear that showed through when he got sweaty so he was told not to wear dark underwear.”
Despite the fact that some participants have reacted angrily, Venus Williams approved the new rule. In an interview following her win on Wednesday, the usually flamboyant player said: ” I think it’s a nice change. I think everyone just kind of glows in white. Obviously not all year, because anything every day is boring. But during these two weeks, it’s nice.”
Naomi Broady, the British tennis player who lost in the second round on Wednesday, has not worn a bra this week. It is not known why not.