Wimbledon history is made as new dress code combats menstrual anxiety

Elena Rybakina wears black undershorts during her Wimbledon first round match against Shelby Rogers

Elena Rybakina wears black undershorts during her Wimbledon first round match against Shelby Rogers – Getty Images/Clive Brunskill

There was a subtle moment of history on center court, as defending champion Elena Rybakina took full advantage of the casual dress code by wearing dark shorts.

Rybakina, who is the third seed at Wimbledon, bounced back from a shaky start to win her opener against Shelby Rogers 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday. But Rybakina and his American opponent were united on one thing: choosing to wear black undershorts.

Then later on the main court, second seed Aryna Sabalenka beat Panna Udvardy 6-3 6-1, and the two also went for dark bottoms.

Last November, the All England Club made the decision to allow women to wear darker undershorts to combat potential menstrual anxiety, and it’s the first time players at the tournament have had this new found freedom. .

“I think it’s good to have an option, but at the same time I was also good with all white,” Rybakina said afterwards. “I think the changes are good, and we still have the same tradition of being in white. Maybe it’s just a small adjustment. Overall I think it’s good, yes.

Aryna Sabalenka also wore black underwear during her match with Panna Udvardy

Aryna Sabalenka also wore black undershorts during her match with Panna Udvardy – Reuters/Hannah Mckay

On Monday, former world number 1 Victoria Azarenka was the first player to enter the pitch in dark green shorts under her white dress, along with Czech player Linda Fruhvirtova, and said: “I appreciate the no-white rule for the girls. I think it was an important step. I think it’s very thoughtful.

The tournament was previously extremely strict in the use of its traditional all-white dress code, which was designed in the 1800s to minimize sweat stains.

Former Russian player Tatiana Golovin has claimed she accidentally defied the rules when she wore red shorts in 2007, prompting the club to restrict the rules. Even the king of the pitch, Roger Federer, was arrested for wearing orange-soled shoes in 2013, while last year’s runner-up Nick Kyrgios made headlines for wearing a red cap during the final trophy ceremony on center court.

The rule change only applies to women’s undershorts and follows a similar trend in football.

The England squad changed their shorts to dark blue for this World Cup after striker Beth Mead said the all-white kit was impractical at times at last year’s European Championships.

British player Heather Watson, who has previously been open about her nerves about wearing white at Wimbledon, said on Sunday the rule was “cutting edge” but opens up new dilemmas.

“When they announced the new rule, I thought it was awesome,” Watson said. “It’s cutting edge, it’s so helpful. And then I thought, shoot, everyone’s gonna know when I get my period – but I’m so open about it anyway, I’ll tell you. I’d probably let you know without even asking!

“I guess consistency is key then, so you have to stick with black all the time or something. But largely obviously [it’s] positive, absolutely. You didn’t ask, but at Eastbourne I wore black shorts, so that really helped.

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