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Olympic champion Monica Puig talks ‘mental stress’ of Wimbledon dress code

Monica Puig of Puerto Rico plays a forehand during Wimbledon in 2019. (Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The Wimbledon dress code is facing renewed scrutiny, with former players and commentators speaking out about the limitations of the Grand Slam’s stringent guidelines.

Since the tournament’s debut in 1877, Wimbledon has imposed an all-white dress code for participants to follow.

Though the Grand Slam’s all-white apparel has been criticized before, several athletes and reporters now are opening up about the dress code’s impact on players competing during their periods.

“I would like to see it change,” sports broadcaster Catherine Whitaker told The Telegraph. “If they had a clothing policy that affected men in the way that it does women, I don’t think that particular tradition would last. I cannot imagine going into the biggest day of my life, with my period, and being forced to wear white.”

Whitaker’s comments come after she opened up about menstrual cramps’ impact on performance on The Tennis Podcast. She was speaking on Qinwen Zheng’s remarks regarding playing while on her period in her French Open fourth-round loss to Iga Swiatek.

The conversation instigated a response from Olympic gold-medalist Monica Puig on Twitter, with the 28-year-old relieved that menstrual cramps were finally being discussed.

“Definitely something that affects female athletes! Finally bringing it to everyone’s attention,” Puig wrote. “Not to mention the mental stress of having to wear all white at Wimbledon and praying not to have your period during those two weeks.”

According to former Australian player Rennae Stubbs, the all-white rule is a topic of conversation on tour.

“We’ve all talked about it in the locker room,” Stubbs said. “At Wimbledon, you’re very cognizant of making sure that everything’s ‘good to go’ the moment you walk on the court – making sure that you have a tampon. A lot of women have pads on top of that, or making sure that you have an extra-large tampon before you go on the court. I think it might have been the one time that I actually left the court at Wimbledon, when I did have my period. The match went three sets and I had to go off and change.”

While the dress code is likely here to stay, the conversation around the needs of menstruating athletes is shifting how periods are addressed in tennis and, hopefully soon, beyond.