Why tennis players have to wear all white at Wimbledon

-Credit: (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
-Credit: (Image: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

There's a certain sartorial elegance demanded from tennis players stepping onto the hallowed courts of Wimbledon, and it all comes down to the shade they don: pure white. The creases of tradition run deep at this storied UK sporting event, and yet while famous faces from across various industries rock up in their grandest finery, competitors must adhere to a strictly monochromatic dress code.

This long-standing rule, harking back to the 1880s, is less about style and more about hygiene and aesthetics. The primary reason?

Sweat stains.

READ MORE: Judy Murray makes private move as Emma Raducanu controversy swirls

READ MORE: Judy Murray attempts to defuse Emma Raducanu row and points finger elsewhere

The official dress code laid out that due to sweat stains being visually unattractive, white was chosen as the preferred colour to lessen their impact.

The perspiration issue is particularly prominent on vibrant shades and some neutrals - greys, for instance. Thus, "tennis whites" entered sporting lexicon, becoming the standard attire for athletes reports Britannica, reports the Express.

Several high-profile stars have previously fallen afoul of this regulation, subsequently asked to change their attire.

Even greats like Roger Federer have been brought to task, with the esteemed player rebuked in 2013 for the audacious inclusion of orange-soled shoes in his ensemble. He was required to swap them out ahead of his next Wimbledon outing.

That said, there's been a small revision in recent years in the women's dress code, aimed at alleviating anxieties high-stakes sport and menstruation might cause.

Female tennis players participating in Wimbledon now have the freedom to wear dark-coloured undershorts, thanks to a change in rules aimed at reassuring players who may be menstruating during matches, according to Forbes. The only stipulation is that the shorts should not be so long that they visibly protrude beneath their white skirts.

The move has been welcomed by British tennis ace Heather Watson, who described it as a significant and progressive change while speaking to Sky. Expressing relief, she said: "When Wimbledon announced that about the under-shorts I was so happy because it makes such a big difference.

"I speak openly about my period and being on my period. I don't think it's a taboo subject. I would love for people to talk about it more, especially women in sport."

The star expressed her happiness, saying: "So, when I heard this I was really happy because last year I went on the pill to stop myself bleeding because I knew we had to wear white under-shorts, and I didn't want to face any embarrassment. We're running around sweating, doing the splits on the court."