At Wimbledon, a pop of pink could get you disqualified. The tournament's all-white rule is one of the most cast-iron standards in professional sports, and according to former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash, Wimbledon's female players have been forced to go braless during the tournament because their undergarments didn't fit the rule.
Former champion Pat Cash, who won Wimbledon's Men's Singles in 1987, just pulled out of the veterans' competition after his tennis shoes failed to meet the dress code. Cash wears specialty shoes during training and games, and the last time he went without them, he suffered an injury. It's one thing to enforce a stringent dress code in the best interest of the athletes' safety and well-being; these rules appear to be solely based on aesthetic preferences.
This year, tournament referee Andrew Jarrett has tightened the preexisting all-white rule, whittling down the permissible color to a 1cm-wide trim and prohibiting colored undergarments altogether because they become visible when players sweat. But that's not all.
According to Wimbledon's official site, other rules — which apply to both practice and matches — include:
Pretty strict, right?
"It's archaic thinking," Cash told BBC Radio 5 Live, according to an Irish Independent report. "I believe some of the girls didn’t have suitable sports bras and had to go without them. It has absolutely gone ridiculous."
One of those girls was Naomi Broady, who played braless in two matches this week.
Jarrett probably isn't aware of just how difficult playing an intense game of tennis — or even lightly jogging — can be for women when they don't have the proper ... support.
Not every player is against the dress code clampdown, however. Venus Williams, who designs her own tennis outfits, told the Telegraph, "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."
Besides the aesthetic appeal, the all-white rule is also rooted in the traditions of the All England Club (the official venue of Wimbledon) dating back to 1963, when the "predominantly white" rule was introduced. In 1995, the rule was updated to "almost entirely in white," but the semantics still allowed wiggle room for creative expression. Now it seems the dress code has been updated once more, but no word on what it's being called yet. Perhaps it will be known as the "just try to wear all white for God's sake" rule.
But all white can be so boring. Just look at all the times players didn't wear all white and how much more fun it was!