Caroline Wozniacki said it would be "creepy" if tennis players at Wimbledon were having their underwear checked following claims the strict all-white dress code has gone too far. The former world number one's comment on the clothing controversy at the All England Club comes after the tightened-up rules were slammed as "ridiculous" by former Wimbledon champion Pat Cash.
The 1987 winner, famed for his trademark black and white headband, claimed players have been asked to change their underwear - including women's bras that were not entirely white. Wozniacki said: "Usually I don't wear coloured underwear whenever you have white underneath. You can see through. I don't think anyone is like showing off their underwear like that and getting it checked. That would be pretty creepy." She added: "I guess white is white, and everyone wears white. It's the same for everyone."
The Danish athlete said she was "not really" aware of any disquiet in the locker rooms about the dress code, and said players had been made aware of the rules. Cash's manager Duncan March said the Australian's withdrawal from the legends' tournament at Wimbledon this year is because he has a sore back - and is nothing to do with clothing rules. But Mr March added: "Pat would be naturally disappointed that he couldn't wear his headband."
The black and white checked headband famously worn by Cash throughout his career would break the current rules at the SW19 Grand Slam. Mr March said a referee told Cash his headband "probably won't be allowed", and said Cash replied: "You must be joking." Cash told BBC Radio Five Live some of the women have been sent back to "change their bras and tops because they had slight colour on them".
He added that he believed some of them did not have suitable sports bras and had to go without.
Cash also claimed one of the players was called into the referees' office because he had blue underwear "that showed through when he got sweaty" so he was told not to wear dark underwear. "It has absolutely gone ridiculous," he said. A spokeswoman at Wimbledon said all the players were written to before the Championships about the white clothing rules and was unable to provide information on any breaches.
She said white items of clothing can be provided to players who need them "at cost price".
In the letter, players were told undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre. "In addition, common standards of decency are required at all times," players were told.
Venus Williams retweeted a photograph from her own range's Twitter feed before the Championships which featured bright pinks and tie-dye patterns. The clothing line EleVen by Venus posted the photograph and tweeted: "I may be in Wimbledon whites, but an EleVen #*fashion* show of color is underneath. #*tiedye* #*python* #*floral* *"* (sic)
According to the official guidelines, this attire would break the rules. This week Williams was asked why she was late for the start of one of her matches. She replied: "Was I late?" When the reporter at the press conference said it had been suggested that she had to change an item of clothing because it was coloured, the US star said: "No. Who said that? That's weird."
Following on from Wozniacki's "creepy" remark, Czech player Barbora Zahlavova-Strycova said having underwear checked would be "weird" and "strange". "I think it's very weird to check under my skirt if I'm wearing white underwear. 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," she said.
Male player Fabio Fognini also commented on the all-white controversy. The Italian said the rules are the "only things I don't like" about Wimbledon, and when asked to elaborate, he said: "Your rules, Wimbledon's rules. White colour." Meanwhile, Wozniacki said she is "not a victim".
Following her very public split from former fiance Rory McIlroy, after wedding invitations had been posted out, and a first-round defeat at the French Open, she headed to Miami for a holiday with Serena Williams. The break seems to have done her the world of good.
Wozniacki is always a crowd favourite but insisted she does not need the sympathy vote.
Speaking after her match today, which she won, she said: "I felt a lot of support from everybody and the crowd. The crowd has been amazing. Honestly, you know, I think everyone here wants to make me a victim. I'm not a victim. I'm just playing tennis. I'm going about my life. I'm playing well. I'm in the second week."
Elsewhere, Andy Murray scored a Centre Court win and joked afterwards that he was "number two son" after his mother Judy chose to watch brother Jamie play doubles. The Scot raced to a 6-2 6-3 6-2 win over Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut to secure his place in the fourth round, and was watched by the Duchess of Cambridge's parents Carole and Michael Middleton.
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