WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Before being interviewed on Center Court about his return to the Wimbledon quarterfinals, Nick Kyrgios traded his all-white grass court shoes for a red and white pair of basketball sneakers and traded his white hat for a red one.
Big problem? Not to Kyrgyzstan. Not too much, probably. Still, it seemed certain to a reporter who then peppered him with questions about it.
That’s because the All England Club has a pretty strict policy regarding all-white clothing while players are on match courts during the tournament – which is clearly a nod to the earliest days of tennis, and some athletes think it might have been better suited for the 1880s than the 2020s.
“I mean, of course I want to wear all black all the time,” replied Kyrgios, a 27-year-old Australian who will face Chile’s Cristian Garin on Wednesday, when asked about the dress code at a pre-tournament press conference he attended in a black. hoodie and matching cap.
“It would be cool to allow, for example, a black headband or black sweatband. I think it would look cool,” Kyrgios said. “Of course, Wimbledon doesn’t really care what looks cool.”
Neither Kyrgios nor anyone else expects a rule change any time soon. And there are certainly those who appreciate it as part of what they consider to be the charm of the oldest Grand Slam event in tennis.
“For me, what I love about Wimbledon is the tradition and that’s what makes it so special, and having all-white clothing is one of the little traditions that I really embrace. It looks fresh, especially against the lawn,” said Alison Riske-Amritraj, who reached the third round in 28th seed. “You don’t have to do it at any other tournament during the year. It’s very professional. I would wear white for every game, everywhere, so I’m probably biased for that matter.”
The first of the All England Club’s 10-point list of clothing guidelines reads: “Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost all white and this applies from the point the player surrounds the court.” The second provision: “White does not include off-white or cream.” There are also more details, such as that a colored trim “around the neckline and around the cuff of the sleeves is acceptable but should not be wider” than 1 centimeter (less than half an inch), that “Caps (including the underbeak) ), headbands, bandanas, wristbands, and socks must be completely white, except “that same trim size, and this: “Shoes should be almost all white. Soles and laces should be completely white. Major manufacturer logos are not encouraged.”
That’s absolutely fine with some of the “competitors.”
Tommy Paul, who was seeded 30th and reached the fourth round, said the Royal Palm Tennis Club in Pinecrest, Florida — where the chief professional is Eric Hechtman, who has coached Serena Williams and Venus Williams — needs all white when he trains there. .
“I don’t mind at all. It’s pretty cool,’ said Paul. “If I see guys doing it at home in training then I have no problem doing it for Wimbledon.”
One player in this year’s tournament said she always worries about her white outfit getting dirty while eating. Some say they were annoyed at having to find new clothes to play at Wimbledon. Others were excited about it.
“It’s very elegant. I really hope they keep this tradition forever because it’s something else. You don’t always have to see colors on people’s clothes,” said Mihaela Buzarnescu, a Romanian who lost last week to second place at the French Open, Coco Gauff. “Every year I think, ‘Oh, white again. Let’s go!'”
Over the years, players have been punished for violating the letter or spirit of the written rules.
In 2013, for example, none other than the now eight-time champion Roger Federer showed up with neon orange soles on his shoes for his first round match, which he won – then he was reminded by the club of the rules of Wimbledon, so he switched to white soles for his second-round match, which he lost, his earliest Grand Slam exit in a decade.
In 2007, Tatiana Golovin played at Wimbledon wearing red underwear under her white dress, leading to this opening exchange at a press conference:
Reporter: “May I ask you about your underpants?”
Golovin: “Excuse me?”
“Could it be a bit more current? Naturally. We’re in 2022,” said Jessica Pegula, who was ranked No. 8 this year and reached the fourth round of the All England Club for the first time. “On the other hand, it’s two weeks off the calendar where you have to do it. It’s part of what makes Wimbledon Wimbledon.”
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