Wimbledon will relax its white clothing rule to allow players to wear dark colored undershorts if they wish, organizers announced on Thursday.
The decision comes after the tournament and its organizers have faced increasing pressure to reduce concerns over whether blood is visible on white clothing for menstruating players.
“We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback on how they can perform at their best,” All England Club chief executive Sally Bolton said in a statement.
“I am pleased to confirm that after consultation with players and representatives from several stakeholder groups, the management committee has taken the decision to update the white clothing rule at Wimbledon.
“This means that from next year, women and girls participating in the Championships will have the option of wearing colored undershorts if they wish.
“We hope this rule adjustment will help players focus solely on their performance by alleviating a potential source of anxiety.”
Until Thursday’s announcement, Wimbledon was still using a rigid all-white dress code, which was first put in place to camouflage sweat stains.
Tournament organizers had been under pressure to relax its strict dress code, and at this year’s tournament activists 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, have spoken of the “mental stress” caused by the all-white dress code and the resulting “jumping periods”.
And in a recent interview with CNN’s Amanda Davies, tennis great Billie Jean King explained that the dress code has caused anxiety for her and her competitors.
“My generation, we always worried because we wore white all the time,” King told CNN’s Amanda Davies.
“And it’s what you wear underneath that’s important for your period.
Billie Jean King reveals ‘the pet peeve’ is Wimbledon’s ‘awful’ white uniform policy
– Source: CNN
“And we always check if we show. You get uptight about it because the first thing we are is artists and you want everything you wear to look flawless, look great,” she said.
King also pointed out that the all-white dress code makes it difficult for fans to distinguish between players on the pitch.
“Nothing is worse in sport than when you turn on the television and two players are wearing the same uniform or the same outfits. It’s horrible. Nobody knows which is which.
“He’s one of my pet peeves, I’ve been screaming for years. Have you ever seen a sport where people wear the same outfit on each side? she added.
Wimbledon is scheduled to take place from July 3-16, 2023.