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Why do Wimbledon players wear white?


Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2019 in all-white (Picture: Simon Bruty/Anychance/Getty Images)

If you watch Wimbledon, you’ll know that all tennis players on The Championship courts wear white.

This is because the tournament has a strict dress code, which states ‘Competitors must 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.’

The rules get even more specific from there. Shoes, soles and laces must all be white, as must the backs of shirts and undergarments.

Only a thin, single strip of colour is allowed on necklines, sleeves, trousers and skirts, wristbands and headwear, no bigger than 10mm.

So, why are the rules so stringent?

Why do Wimbledon players wear white outfits?

Rafael Nadal in fully white tennis attire at Wimbledon 2019 (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

‘Tennis whites’ at Wimbledon reportedly date back to the 1800s.

The tournament launched in 1877, and in this Victorian era, it was believed white would be the ideal colour for players to wear.

White clothing would prevent or minimise sweat stains visible on the players clothes, and be ‘cooling’, it was thought.

The rules on what constituted an appropriately-white outfit weren’t always as strict, though.

Clothing guidelines were updated in 1963, and again in 1995, before the 10-part clothing and equipment decree was issued in 2014.

Of course, Wimbledon watchers do not have to wear white. It’s just a rule for players on the court.


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