Not all right to be all white

US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands returns against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic during their women's singles third round match on day five of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 3, 2015
US player Bethanie Mattek-Sands returns against Switzerland's Belinda Bencic during their women's singles third round match on day five of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 3, 2015. PHOTO: AFP

LONDON • American tennis player Bethanie Mattek-Sands has criticised Wimbledon's rigid enforcement of its rules on players wearing only white clothing, saying the tournament has gone too far in forbidding even the smallest glimpse of coloured clothing or trim on players' kits.

Mattek-Sands, 30, who frequently dyes her hair in a range of colours and has a prominent tattoo on one arm, said the tournament had "got a little excessive" in its obsession with white, having tightened its rules last year to ban anything more than a one-centimetre coloured trim - even ruling out coloured underwear worn under white garments.

Earlier this week, Eugenie Bouchard narrowly avoided censure by the All England Club when an umpire spotted a thin black bra strap - barely visible under another white bra top and her white tennis dress - while she was playing on court. The tournament decided not to take any action in that case.

Wimbledon has always insisted that players' kits are "almost entirely white", but used to allow a little leniency for some of the coloured bras, headbands or other accessories worn by players.

  • RESULTS

  • WIMBLEDON, 3rd rd (selected)

    Men: Marin Cilic (Cro) bt John Isner (USA) 7-6 (7-4) 6-7 (6-8) 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 12-10, Roberto Bautista Agut (Esp) bt Nikoloz Basilashvili (Geo) 7-6 (7-4) 6-0 6-1, Viktor Troicki (Srb) bt Dustin Brown (Ger) 6-4 7-6 (7-3) 4-6 6-3.

    Women: Monica Niculescu (Rom) bt Kristyna Pliskova (Cze) 6-3 7-5, Caroline Wozniacki (Den) bt Camila Giorgi (Ita) 6-2 6-2, Garbine Muguruza Blanco (Esp) bt Angelique Kerber (Ger) 7-6 (12-10) 1-6 6-2.

"I was actually Googling some players like when John McEnroe played, Arthur Ashe - they had colour everywhere," said Mattek-Sands. "They had colour on their sleeves, big stripes, they were coming out in colour jackets. So I feel it's actually got stricter."

Speaking before the tournament, Roger Federer said that the tournament's enforcement of its dress code had become "ridiculously strict". "I love Wimbledon, but they've gone too far now," said the Swiss world No. 2.

But women's world No. 5 Caroline Wozniacki said she relished the "challenge" of coming up with an interesting outfit for the tournament that was entirely white.

Said the Dane: "If they say it's all white, it's all white. It's fun to try to be creative with what you wear even though you have to wear white." THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 05, 2015, with the headline 'Not all right to be all white'. Print Edition | Subscribe