Something's not white, Wimbledon says of boy's blue underwear

Jurij Rodionov being spoken to by Lucy Grant, a supervisor, who told him that he needed to replace his blue underwear with white, to adhere to Wimbledon's dress code.
Jurij Rodionov being spoken to by Lucy Grant, a supervisor, who told him that he needed to replace his blue underwear with white, to adhere to Wimbledon's dress code.PHOTO: TWITTER

LONDON • Jurij Rodionov's bleached-blond man bun did not offend Wimbledon sensibilities before his third-round boys' singles match on Thursday, but something nearly invisible did - his blue underwear.

As he stood at the net for the coin toss, the chair umpire, Philip Lodge, inquired about Rodionov's underwear. Rodionov obligingly yanked down the waistband of his white shorts to reveal the colour.

A supervisor, Lucy Grant, soon came onto court.

"Ah," she said, seeing the underwear when Rodionov, 18, again dutifully lowered his shorts.

"This is the problem we have: If you're serving, the shorts could become visible."

Grant sent out a sartorial SOS on her walkie-talkie. "Can we have some underwear to Court 18 - boys'?" she asked as Rodionov laughed.

Offered a choice of medium or large, Rodionov selected medium, and he was also given an extra pair for his doubles match later.

Wimbledon's dress code, which was last updated in 2014, is so strict that it forbids players from wearing anything non-white that can be visible during play, "including due to perspiration".

Rodionov said the episode was not stressful but rather eased his pre-match nerves.

"It was fine - I got more relaxed, actually," he said, after his 6-3, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3 win over Blake Ellis of Australia. "So I think it helped me."

An on-court investigation into underpants also took place before a boys' doubles match on Wednesday.

The top-seeded pair, Zsombor Piros and Wu Yibing, as well as one of their opponents, Brazil's Joao Reis da Silva, were told to change after the umpire saw Piros' blue underwear peeking through.

Wimbledon provided legal white underwear for those players, too.

Women's singles finalist Venus Williams was asked to change into a white sports bra after she wore a pink one during her opening match against Elise Mertens.

The problem was that Williams' bra straps extended beyond her white jumper and were clearly visible.

The American was reluctant to criticise the decision.

"I don't want to talk about undergarments," said the 37-year-old.

"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."

NY TIMES, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 15, 2017, with the headline 'Something's not white, Wimbledon says of boy's blue underwear'. Print Edition | Subscribe