The All England Club employ a strict dress code at SW19
WIMBLEDON is famous for its traditions.
Strawberries & cream, sunburn and brollies, ballboys – and all-white uniforms.
Since the All England Club started hosting the tournament in 1877, players have been required to wear a full white strip.
But why? We reveal all here.
Why do players have to wear white at Wimbledon?
The custom of wearing white at Wimbledon is said to date back to the 19th century.
During this time tennis was a genteel sport, played at social gatherings and usually by women.
Sweat patches on coloured clothing was often viewed as improper, so the all-white dress code was adopted to avoid embarrassment.
Wimbledon have simply carried on this tradition, almost exclusively, even after the US open opened their dress code to coloured clothing in 1972.
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What is in the rule book?
The rules regarding the dress code have been enforced more strictly in recent years, with the All England Club introducing a 10 part decree in 2014 that cracked-down on coloured attire.
The decree, which is on the website on the All England club, includes precedents like: “white does not include off-white or cream” and “any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre”.
What controversy has it caused?
The rules have often been the subject of discontent with players.
Eight-time Grand Slam champion Andre Agassi – now coach of Novak Djokovic – had publicly said that he refused to play at Wimbledon during his early playing years due to its “predominantly white” dress code.
These annoyances have continued to litter SW19 in recent years.
This year alone, Venus Williams had to change her bra midway through her first round victory over Elise Mertens because it was bright pink.
Previously, seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer had said “I think it’s too strict”, in a press conference after he was told that his shoes with orange soles were too much for the dress code.
He was prevented from wearing them again during the 2013 tournament.
In 2014, Martina Navratilova, nine-time winner of Wimbledon, claimed that the All England club had “gone too far”, when she was told that blue stripes on a skirt worn in an invitational doubles match had broken the code.
Also in 2014 and like Williams this year, Eugenie Bouchard’s bra became national news – as it was black underneath her white top.
In 2015, Nick Kyrgios was reprimanded for wearing a coloured headband and had to turn it inside out.