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Why is it mandatory for tennis players to wear white at Wimbledon?

These days the Wimbledon Championship starts. One of the four Grand Slams that are played throughout the year. For many, the most important of all. and the oldest: disputed since 1887.

Surely you have noticed: during the three weeks that the tournament lasts, all the tennis players who participate wear white. It’s not a coincidence: it’s a norm of the championship. But why?

Everything is due precisely to the age of the tournament. When it started, back in July 1877, the members of the “All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club”, who were the ones who disputed it, all wore white. Simply for styling. or by classism, it could be said. At that time the wealthiest classes –which were, after all, those who played tennis– wore white to show the rest precisely that, that they were upper class.

White was a neat color. Cleansed. From people ‘who didn’t get dirty’. While the workers dressed in colors, because in this way they better concealed the stains that they continually suffered when carrying out their work.

So, effectively, those first tennis players who played at Wimbledon did so in white, to keep that distinctive. Something that, it should be noted, was not exclusive to Wimbledon or tennis.

Over the years, and with the opening of the Championship to tennis players of other origins, other clothing was incorporated. Although members of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club continued to advocate the use of white.

Until in 1963and seeing that that idea was being lost, the organization decided to incorporate a new rule: the clothing of all tennis players had to be white.

Made the law, made the trap: in the late 80s and early 90s tennis players, seeking to break with the norm, began to use different shades of white (pearl, cream, bone…). So in 1995 it was stipulated that all competitors had to wear “pure white”. In 2014, in addition, all kinds of accessories, intimate garments, and even the soles of shoes were also included.

“Competitors must dress in appropriate tennis attire that is completely white and this applies from the moment the player enters the vicinity of the court,” the regulations state exactly.

A rule that continues to be maintained until today, although in recent years they have been doing small concessions: you can see the sports brand of the clothing (with a size that is not considered excessive), and also small stripes, as long as these do not exceed one centimeter in thickness.

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