News24

Wimbledon to relax colour rule

2012-05-15 21:34

Rome - Wimbledon's all-white dress code won't be in place for the Olympics. And the traditional dark green backdrop around the courts will be gone, too.

"The look will be the look of the games. There will be more colour. It will be a special Wimbledon," International Tennis Federation president Francesco Ricci Bitti told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "The rule for clothing will be the rule for the Olympics, so there will be much more colour in terms of what the players wear, too.

"Some people might not like it, but I think the majority will," Ricci Bitti added. "It will be memorable."

Venus Williams, who has won three Olympic gold medals, is embracing the opportunity to wear something different at the All England Club.

"It's the Olympics and so at that point it won't be Wimbledon, so that's what makes it different," Williams said. "We'll be wearing team colours. Red white and blue all the way - and hopefully gold."

Williams swept gold in singles and doubles - with sister Serena - at the 2000 Sydney Games, then won doubles again with Serena in 2008 in Beijing. In London, she could aim for three more medals, with mixed doubles also on the program.

Ricci Bitti said the most difficult thing with hosting Olympic tennis at Wimbledon has been setting up better security, noting that there will be separate entrances for players and fans.

Ricci Bitti also addressed recent complaints over grunting.

"It's definitely a problem in women's tennis, although for very few athletes - I would say really just two right now - (Maria) Sharapova and (Victoria) Azarenka," he said.

"There already is a rule. If the (opponent) complains, the chair umpire can intervene. But the opponents don't complain for solidarity issues. They only complain unofficially. But the rule already exists."

According to Ricci Bitti, if a player complains about their opponent's grunting, the chair umpire can warn the opponent and then hand out point and game penalties.

"Our job is to educate younger players, because grunting comes from some schools that convince players that it helps," he said.

Lastly, Ricci Bitti said there are no plans being made to change the Davis Cup or Fed Cup formats.

AP