If you watched any of the Wimbledon games, you’ll notice that all the participant tennis players wear white. But even though white outfit is not uncommon for tennis players, in Wimbledon it’s not an option; all-white is a dress code.
But how did that come to be?
The tournament rules specify that all players must be dressed “predominately in white”. This is because at the time the codes were written in the 1880s, sweet stains were considered very inappropriate. Due to the fact that sweat is more apparent on colorful clothes, it was decided that the standard attire should be white in order to minimize the sweat’s visibility. But this rule has been quite controversial and… not very popular among players. And there have been quite a few extreme cases throughout the years. (the article continues after the ad)
Andre Agassi, the American legend, refused to participate at the Wimbledon games form 1988 to 1990 because the all-white rule didn’t allow him to wear the coloful (and quite flashy) clothes he was feeling more comfortable wearing. Even Roger Federer, perhaps the greatest tennis player of all time, was rebuked in 2013 because he was wearing his orange-soled white shoes (!), a pair of shoes he had to replace during his next match. In 2014, Martina Navratilova was also reprimanded by the judges as her blue-striped skirt didn’t follow the code. But this criticism does not seem to bother the tournament officials as there are no indications that they plan to soften the dress code. In fact, rules are getting more strict at recent years. In 2014, the All-England Club issued a 10-part “decree” that include stipulations like:
- “White does not include off-white or cream.”
- There can only be “a single trim of color no wider than one centimeter.”
- “Any [colored] undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration)” are not allowed.
Judging from the above, there’s a good chance that the all-white clothing will stay with us for a good long time.