Tennis legend Billie Jean King has taken aim at Wimbledon over the All England Club’s archaic dress code rules, labelling them one of her biggest “pet peeves”.
Wimbledon’s controversial all-white rules are set to be changed after multiple stars flaunted the directives at this year’s Grand Slam.
Now the strict dress code is set to be reconsidered and altered to be more considerate for female players.
Under the current guidelines the room for movement is minimal, with it stating: “undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre”.
Female tennis stars spoke out this year over the need for change to the dress code with many skipping menstruating over fears of leaking and staining their white clothing.
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Now the American tennis icon has lashed the strict dress code, saying the issues were prevalent in her playing days.
“My generation, we always worried because we wore all white all the time,” she told CNN. “And it’s what you wear underneath that’s important for your menstrual period.
“And we’re always checking whether we’re showing. You get tense about it because the first thing we are is entertainers and you want whatever you wear to look immaculate, look great. We’re entertainers. We’re bringing it to the people.”
King’s contempt for the all-white dress code also centered around the optics of both players being in identical outfits.
“Nothing is worse in sports than when you turn on the television and two players are wearing the same uniform or same outfits. It’s horrible,” she said.
“No one knows who’s who. This is one of my pet peeves, I’ve been yelling for years. Have you ever seen any sport where the people wear the same outfit on each side?”
The change to the strict dress code will come into effect from 2023 and onwards and will also impact the bras female players can wear.
That issue was thrust back into the spotlight after Mihaela Buzarnescu was forced to change her bra prior to her round 1 match in 2022 as it was deemed not to comply with the rules.
In a statement, The All England Club stated they were in discussions over ways to help support the players.
“Prioritising women’s health and supporting players based on their individual needs is very important to us, and we are in discussions with the WTA, with manufacturers and with the medical teams about the ways in which we can do that,” the statement read.