Tennis Players Complain about Wimbledon’s All-White Dress Code

August 25, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. complaint /kəmˈpleɪnt/ (n.) – an expression of discontent or dissatisfaction
Example: The event organizers received many complaints about their services.

2. dress code /drɛs koʊd/ (n.) – rules regarding what clothes may or may not be worn in a place or an establishment
Example: Our company’s dress code forbids wearing shorts in the office.

3. rigid /ˈrɪdʒ ɪd/ (adj.) – cannot be changed easily
Example: The mall has rigid rules regarding pets.

4. unsightly /ʌnˈsaɪt li/ (adj.) – unpleasant to see
Example: He had an unsightly wound on his arm after the accident.

5. predominantly / prəˈdɑːmənəntli / (adv.) – much greater in extent or number
Example: The team’s logo is predominantly red.


Read the text below.
Several tennis players have raised their complaints against Wimbledon’s all-white dress code.

Wimbledon’s dress code requires athletes to wear an all-white outfit—off-white and cream excluded—upon entering the court. The shirt’s neckline or sleeve can have a different color as long as it is not wider than 10 millimeters. The same rule applies to shorts, skirts, and even to accessories such as caps, headbands, wristbands, and socks. The player’s shoes, however, must be completely white.

Among the players who complained about the dress code is Roger Federer, a seven-time Wimbledon champion. He expressed that the dress code has become too rigid that it no longer allows self-expression among athletes. Federer hopes that in the next few years, more colors will be allowed on the tennis court.

Bethanie Mattek-Sands, another famous tennis player, also thinks that the dress code is too strict. Known for her dyed hair and colorful outfits, Mattek-Sands shared that the policy has gone too far that players cannot even wear off-white outfits.

According to Business Insider, Wimbledon has the strictest dress code among all the major tennis tournaments. This dress code, which started in the 1800s, was established since sweat stains on colored clothing was considered unsightly among players.

In the past, players were allowed to wear outfits that were at least predominantly or mainly white. However, Wimbledon organizer All England Club re-issued a stricter dress code in 2014.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What events or places in your country implement dress codes?
·         Do you agree with the dress codes for these events or places? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Should self-expression be a priority in sports? Why or why not?
·         Do you think fashion is important in sports? Defend your answer. 

August 25, 2015