London - Wimbledon's famously strict dress code, which requires competitors
to appear head-to-toe in white playing gear, has come under renewed fire for
being "ridiculous" and "excessive".
Even Roger Federer, the seven-time champion and a lifelong admirer of the
All England Club's traditions, has ramped up his criticism of the rule which
demands predominantly white outfits.
"I love Wimbledon but they've gone too far now. The rules have become
ridiculously strict," said the Swiss legend.
It is the second time in two seasons that Federer has hit out at the rule
which calls for "suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely
"We're all white. White, white, full-on white. I think it's very
strict," Federer said 12 months ago.
"My personal opinion, I think it's too strict. If you look at the
pictures of Edberg, Becker, there was some colours, you know, but it was 'all
The colour code at Wimbledon is often controversial.
Last year Caroline Wozniacki said reports that officials would check the
colour of women's underwear as "a little creepy".
This week, Canadian poster girl Eugenie Bouchard fell foul of the rules
after wearing a black bra.
Flamboyant American player Bethanie Mattek-Sands said she supported
"I didn't even get married in white," she said.
Mattek-Sands once appeared on Wimbledon Centre Court wearing a coat made of
tennis balls and has also taken to a court with war paint beneath her eyes.
She claims a Nike-designed white playing bra was judged to be unsuitable at
Wimbledon because it had a yellow stripe.
"I think it's gotten a little excessive. It was funny, because I was
actually Googling some players like when John McEnroe played, Arthur Ashe, they
had colour everywhere," said Mattek-Sands who makes a mini-statement by
appearing on court with knee-high white socks.
"I feel it's actually gotten stricter. You can't even wear off-white or
cream. I was like, man, if you wash your whites too many times, they will be
illegal. Better be washing it in cold water.
"I had a little mesh on my shirt today (in Wednesday's win over Ana
Ivanovic). I have like I think one legal pair of shorts that is on rotation
hopefully in cold water. One skirt I think that's legal."
Mattek-Sands, 30, would never be one to settle for the ordinary when it
comes to fashion choice.
When she married insurance executive Justin Sands in 2008, she walked down
the aisle in black.
"I actually wore a black dress. When I went shopping for it, they
wanted me to try some stuff on, and I said, Look, I'm not going to wear
anything white, off-white, cream, light pink, I said, so just don't even hand
me those," she recalled.
"They're like, Well, we have this black evening gown. I'm like,
Perfect. First one I tried and got that one."