Wimbledon was established way back in 1877 so it makes sense that some of the rules have since become tradition, but we often forget why that tradition was even established. So why do the players have to wear white?

Wimbledon has a very strict dress code that requires players to ‘be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround. White does not include off white or cream.’

Ironic that they don’t allow cream.

The rules go even further than that. Shoes, laces, and even soles have to be white. Even your undies have to be white. Jeez, the Victorian era was just a little uptight, aye?

You are allowed some colour. Some. A thin single strip of colour is allowed on necklines, trousers, sleeves, skirts, headwear, and sweatbands. But no more than 10mm.

The reason for white being chosen is due to people believing that, at the time, white would be the most ideal colour for players to wear. This is because white will prevent, or at least, minimise the amount of sweat stains that are visible, which in their mind meant that the clothes would be ‘cooling’. Sweat stains were also considered improper and unsightly because that’s just how the Brits were at the time.

The players haven’t always been happy about this either. Andre Agassi refused to play at Wimbledon in between 1988 and 1990 partly because of the dress code. Agassi preferred to wear flashy clothes on court, that was part of his brand, his image, and it was what he felt most comfortable in.

Even tennis’s golden boy, Roger Federer, was reprimanded for breaking Wimbledon rules with orange sole shoes in 2013. He had to replace his shoes for the next match.

In 2014, Martina Navratilova, said that the tournament officials had ‘gone too far’ when they said that her blue striped skirt was not up to code.

Even when faced with criticism from some of the biggest players in tennis, Wimbledon hasn’t budged an inch from tradition. It looks like players will be wearing white for quite some time before anything changes.

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