Why Do Tennis Players Wear White?

Any person who has paid attention to tennis in the past has probably noticed that white is a predominant color worn by players from time to time. While it used to be worn by players much more commonly than it is now, there is still one tournament in particular where players must wear white to participate.

Tennis players wear white due to the clothes’ overall lightness, their ability to reflect the sun, and overall comfortability during the summer months. At certain tournaments, like Wimbledon, players are required to wear white every match. Which goes back to tradition, and club rules.

Why do tennis players wear white? Tennis players wear white due to the clothes’ overall lightness, their ability to reflect the sun, and overall comfortability during the summer months. At certain tournaments, like Wimbledon, players are required to wear white every match. Which goes back to tradition, and club rules.

White Outfits Dictated By Tournaments

In the past, tennis tournaments would have certain requirements about what a person could wear when they are on the court. With limited color choices, and the tradition going back for quite some time, white was the prominent color.

Certain clubs wanted players only to wear white with more stringent requirements like a specific type of shirt and pants, but that has since been relaxed a bit. There was a time when players had to wear collared shirts and long pants, while women had to wear dresses that covered most of their legs.

The only rule that has lingered since is the all-white look, and only in select locations. Most notably, in The Championships, Wimbledon holds onto this rule. Back in the 1880s, there was a code put together by the All England Club.

The color white became the clothing choice because of the classiness it brings to the table, and that it is also the best at hiding any sweat stains after a hard day on the court. Even to this day, certain colors are going to show sweat stains much more than tennis whites.

Why Tennis Players Choose To Wear White When They Doesn’t Need To

Even outside of Wimbledon, white is one of the most predominant colors in tennis. While very few players will wear nothing but white away from London, they will still have predominantly white outfits.

There are a few reasons why this ends up being the case. It might not always make sense to an outside viewer, but a lot of it goes back to how tennis clothes were made in the past. When natural fibers dominated, white reflected sunny weather better, and it was lighter overall.

Sponsors also like lighter colors like white, because it allows their logos to pop a bit more. The shirt is less distracting, and people watching on TV or in the stands can view what they are selling.

Will The All-White Dress Code Ever Completely Fade Away?

There have been talks about Wimbledon finally letting go of the dress code, but others believe that it is part of tennis tradition. It is the only tournament that has these requirements, and it makes it feel a little bit special as well.

Since it is a private club that hosts the tournament, they have the final say. Throughout the years, there have been players who have put some pressure on the All England Club to potentially change their requirements. However, nothing has come of that as of yet. Most likely, it is going to be a rule that lasts for a very long time in the future.

Has Anyone Truly Tried To Challenge The Clothing Rules At Wimbledon?

The biggest challenge over the years came from Andre Agassi when he first burst onto the scene. This is a guy who did many things by his own rules, and he was not particularly fond of paying attention to what he thought were antiquated clothing restrictions.

At first, he tried to challenge the rules and bring his own set of clothes that were flashy to the mix. When Wimbledon quickly said that would not be allowed, he did his own protest for three years and did not participate in the tournament. Having one of the best players in tennis history not play for three years because of the dress code seems a bit extreme, but he would ultimately hoist a trophy there during his career.

Seemingly every year, Wimbledon makes a ruling on at least a player or two who ends up being mildly controversial. Players show up with clothing that they feel is well within Wimbledon rules, but they have to make a change. It could be very tricky for players who are sent only a limited amount of clothing from sponsors.

There have been players who have had to cover up logos and creatively change colors right before a match, even though television cameras can make that look less professional than the white with a little bit of color.

This all goes back to Wimbledon being in charge and not really explicitly listing the rules. There is a lot of opportunity for different interpretations, and players who try to push the envelope a little too much will face different decisions.

Maybe Wimbledon will change at some point, but they seem to like the tradition and instant recognition of their tournament. Something about tuning into tennis in the middle of the summer with green grass and white outfits makes it easy for everyone to spot.

Fred Simonsson

I'm Fred, the guy behind TennisPredict. Apart from writing here, I play tennis on a semi-professional level and coach upcoming talents.

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