Heather Watson and Coco Gauff speak out on Wimbledon's new underwear rule for female players
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Heather Watson and Coco Gauff have spoken out on Wimbledon's new underwear rule for female players.
Previous regulations at Wimbledon had strictly prohibited competitors from wearing any other colour except white. However, this year the tournament announced a rule change following protests that took place in 2022.
Campaigners from Address The Dress Code staged a protest outside the main gate over its all-white clothing policy, wearing white skirts with red undershorts to highlight the period-anxiety women face competing in traditional white.
That year British doubles star Alicia Barnett also opened up about the stress of Wimbledon whites and the difficulties of playing tennis while feeling “bloated and tired”.
Following the backlash, the 2023 competition will allow female players’ underwear to be a colour other than white as part of a change voted in to help ease competitors’ period anxiety. The change also applies to the girls’ singles junior event.
The rule change has been welcomed by some prominent names in the tennis community.
Watson and Gauff on Wimbledon rule change
Former British No.1 Watson, who has previously spoken about the effects periods have on female athletes’ performance, welcomed Wimbledon’s rule change.
Speaking to Sky Sports News she said: "When Wimbledon announced about the undershorts I was so happy because it makes such a difference.
"I speak openly about my period, I don't think it's a taboo subject and I would love for people to talk about it more.
"Last year I went on the pill to stop myself bleeding because I knew I had to wear white undershorts and I didn't want any embarrassment.
"We're running around sweating, doing the splits on court. This year I knew my period was going to be during Wimbledon again so I'm very happy I won't have to do the same thing as last year."
World No.7 Gauff also opened up about her experience competing while on her period and stressed she was delighted to see the rule change at this year's Wimbledon.
"I was on my period last year at Wimbledon and it was very stressful," she told Sky Sports News.
"You have period underwear to help you but it's still in the back of your mind. Sometimes when you go to the bathroom, you're supposed to use the bathroom but sometimes I would go to check nothing was showing.
"It will make all the world of difference and I'm glad it's not a taboo subject any more."