Venus Williams’ choice of bright pink bra sparked a discussion over whether it breached Wimbledon’s strict all-white rule, but the tennis champ refused to be drawn into the sartorial debate branding it ‘weird’.
The 37-year-old, who has won the women’s singles title six times, was playing against Belgian Elise Mertens, but all eyes seem to have been on her top rather than her tennis talent.
Williams was wearing a white tennis dress with a bright pink sports-bra underneath, which became more apparent as she moved around the court.
The bra was reportedly perceived to be a breach of Wimbledon’s all-white rule, which requires that all players wear no “solid mass of colouring”, little or no dark or bold colour and no fluorescent colours.
The All England Lawn Tennis Club’s guidelines state a preference for back of shirt to be totally white, a preference for shorts and skirts to be totally white, and all other items of clothing including hats, socks and shoes to be almost entirely white.
Introduced in 1963 as a ‘predominantly in white’ rule, this was later updated to more stringent ‘almost entirely in white’ rule in 1995, with accessories being included in 2014.
The rule applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround. Ultimately the decision on the day as to whether the players’ turnout is suitable is at the discretion of the individual referee.
Neither the club nor Williams confirmed whether she had been taken to task over her underwear choice, but she said in a post-match conference: “Yeah, so I don’t want to talk about undergarments. It’s kind of awkward for me.
“I’ll leave that to you. You can talk about it with your friends. I’m going to pass.”
The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC) also agreed it was “a private matter” and would not be discussed further.
Williams went on to win through in straight sets, beating Mertens 7-6 (9/7) 6-4 in an hour and 40 minutes.
This isn’t the first time female players have fallen foul of the dress code. In 2002 Anna Kournikova was asked by officials to remove her black shorts and, with nothing else available, she had to resort to wearing her male coach’s baggy sports pants for the rest of her match.