Wimbledon is a tournament steeped in tradition, from the all-grass courts to the Venus Rosewater Dish to the Middle Sunday day of rest.
One of the tournament’s most storied traditions is the all-white dress code, which has been in effect at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club since 1877, even before the championships began.
Previously, some female players have tried to skirt the rule by donning a splash of color underneath their all-white outfits, like Serena Williams did in 2013:
A splash of color: Serena Williams at Wimbledon in 2013.
So the officials introduced a stricter edict this year that said, "undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white and contain no more than 1cm of coloured trim," according to a letter sent to players by tournament referee Andrew Jarrett (as reported by the Irish Independent).
Former Wimbledon winner Pat Cash, who was forced to withdraw from the Wimbledon Majors tournament after his tennis shoes failed to pass dress code muster, called this rule "archaic." The 1987 champion reportedly told BBC 5 Live, "Some of the girls have been told to go back and change their bras and tops because they had slight color on them.
"I believe some of the girls didn’t have suitable sports bras and had to go without them. It has absolutely gone ridiculous."
Naomi Broady of Great Britain wears all white.
But the stricter rule didn’t seem to get anyone’s panties in a bunch. The Irish Examiner reported Caroline Wozniacki didn’t see any uproar in the locker rooms over the newly-amended rule.
"I guess white is white and everyone wears white. It’s the same for everyone," Wozniacki said. "I don’t think anyone is like showing off their underwear like that and getting it checked. That would be pretty creepy."
"If we are playing in white, we should wear white underwear. But it’s kind of weird officials coming and checking. I think it’s strange," Czech player Barbora Zahlavova Strycova reportedly said after her match against Li Na on Friday.
Third-seed Simona Halep didn’t mind the all-white rule at all: "I think it’s special to play here. They have the special rules because you have to be in white. I think it’s not really difficult to get white clothes," the Irish Examiner reported Halep as saying. "So I like this tradition. It’s really nice to see everybody in white clothes."
Venus Williams had intimated that she would wear a splash of color under her Wimbledon whites in her Twitter feed:
But there was no apparent color to be found on game day:
Venus Williams on day five of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships.
After her win on Wednesday, the elder Williams sister said, "I think it’s a nice change. I think everyone just kind of glows in white. Obviously not all year, because anything every day is boring. But during these two weeks, it’s nice," the Irish Independent reported.