Wimbledon has relaxed its all-white clothing rules to allow female competitors to wear dark undershorts and relieve a potential source of anxiety when they have their periods, the All England Club have said.
Wimbledon have traditionally banned all players from wearing coloured underwear since 2014 as part of their all-white policy.
However, after fresh criticism from Billie Jean King and Judy Murray, the rules have been changed to allow female players to wear dark-coloured undershorts.
Sally Bolton, Chief Executive of the All England Club, said: “We are committed to supporting the players and listening to their feedback as to how they can perform at their best.
“From next year, women and girls competing at The Championships will have the option of wearing coloured under shorts if they choose. It is our hope that this rule adjustment will help players focus purely on their performance by relieving a potential source of anxiety.”
All-white rule can lead to ‘fear’
Six-time Wimbledon singles champion Jean King had previously led calls for the All England Club to relax rules and follow changes brought by other sports, including women’s football teams changing shorts from white to darker colours.
Speaking to CNN, Jean King said: “My generation, we always worried because we wore all-white all the time. 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.
“You feel like you can breathe and not have to check on everything every minute when you sit down and change sides. So at least it’s been brought to the forefront, which I think is important to have discussion.”
Murray back calls for a rule change, adding the all-white rule can lead to “fear” for players on their period.