The All England Club have been slammed for their enforcement of the all-white clothes policy at Wimbledon, with world number 16 Caroline Wozniacki branding the checking of players’ underwear “creepy”.
It has been a tradition since the birth of the tournament in 1877 that players should adopt clothing that is entirely white, and the tournament officials have taken a stronger approach to implementing the rules this year, as sponsors have made more of an impression on players’ kits in recent years.
Wimbledon is the only tournament on the tour wear an all-white policy is in place, and underwear also falls into this category, causing some players to speak out against the strictness of the rule.
Some feel that the rule has been taken too far, as former champion Pat Cash claimed on BBC Radio that female players have been asked to change their bra if it does not fit in with the dress code and called the AELTC (All England Lawn Tennis Club) “ridiculous".
The Australian also claimed that one player had been asked to change their blue underwear because it would show through if they were to become sweaty.
Cash’s frustrations stemmed from being told by a referee that his black and white checked headband, which he wore on his way to winning the tournament in 1987, would “probably not be allowed” under current regulations in the legends tournament this year.
The AELTC sent guidelines to all players stating that they must follow the dress code, and that they had spare clothes on hand for anyone who failed to comply with the rules.
But Cash has also intimated that some female players have had to play bra-less this year, particularly as white bras can be seen through white clothing when they sweat.
Wozniacki stated how uncomfortable she would personally feel about underwear being checked by officials.
The former world number one said: “I don’t think anyone is showing off their underwear like that. Getting it checked: that'd be pretty creepy”.
The Dane has not yet fallen foul of the all-white policy, and she does not see why it would be difficult for a player to wear white clothing at all times when they are playing at SW19, and that it is not something that has caused too much of a fuss in the women’s locker room.
“Usually I don’t wear coloured underwear whenever you have white. You can see through.
"Obviously, if the colour of the bra is really bright, the top is see-through, you can see it through. Everyone was told before Wimbledon you have to wear white. I don’t think there should be any surprises.
"White is white. It should be pretty simple.”
Another player who would be disturbed by underwear checks is Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic, who will be facing Wozniacki in the fourth round and defeated second seed Li Na in the third round on Friday.
“It’s weird to be checking our underwear, don’t you think?" she said.
"I think it’s very weird to check under my skirt if I’m wearing white underwear. The second week of action begins at Wimbledon on Monday."
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