Given the strict dress code of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, where Wimbledon will start next week, every player has tried to find a parade. With more or less success...
1- Gussie Moran
Gussie Moran is the first player in history to have made a "scandal" for her outfit at Wimbledon. A kind of Kournikova before her time, the Californian meteor landed in the 1949 edition with a short skirt. Problem: at the time, tradition required women to wear long skirts. Excitement among photographers, who tried their best shots to get a glimpse of her panties with lace frills. Shock and awe, however, for the All England Club. The organisers even said that she brought « vulgarity and sin into tennis». The issue was even raised in Parliament. The origin of evil? Before the tournament, "Gorgeous Gussie" had simply asked permission to wear a coloured dress. Permission denied. She opted for a short skirt, designed by Teddy Tinling. The following? A defeat in the third round, a few regrets, some results in doubles, three failed marriages, a few apparition in a couple of movies, a little bit of radio and a sinister later life, living of social aid, in a small rundown flat in Hollywood.
2- The white bra-gate
In the summer of 2014, the conversation became heated at Wimbledon. And that's Pat Cash, a colourful bandana fan, who told the BBC: "Many women have been asked to change before getting on the courts and leave in the dressing rooms all the bras featuring a colourful note. Some had no spare white lingerie and simply had to play without anything on. It's really absurd." The beginning of what was later called the "white bra-gate". But you don't mess with tradition at the All England Tennis and Croquet Club. In response, the boss, Andrew Jarrett, simply sent a letter to all the players, in which he explained laconically that "the colour of underwear may be seen while moving". And the rules are formal: only a thin line of colour of 1 cm maximum is tolerated... "I think it's strange to look under my skirt to see if I have white underwear," retorted at the time the Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Well said.
3- Benoit Paire’s nightmare
The tortuous relationship between the French Benoit Paire and tennis reached a funny turning point at the 2013 edition of Wimbledon. Before the competition started, Lionel Zimbler, his coach, was asked to leave the training courts. Why? Because he was wearing black jacket, in conflict with the London mandatory dress code. "We got started and my coach had to leave because he was wearing black! They told him: 'You, you get out of the court.' So no choice: he left!" laughs Benoit Paire, a bit bitter. Then, during training, the player, visibly annoyed, threw his racquet on the ground. Which didn't go unnoticed either: "It made a very small crack on the grass, two centimetres, not more. And then the person who looks after the courts took a picture and sent it by email to Gerry Armstrong, the umpire! Suddenly, I was summoned to his office." When things go wrong... But that's not all: in the third round, against Łukasz Kubot, Paire, always tense, broke his racquet. Verdict: a 1,000 dollars fine. Conclusion of the French, eventually eliminated in the quarterfinals, “There’s only one thing I want, it's to get out of here and go on holiday. Honestly, I don't like Wimbledon." All this for a black jacket...
4- Roger’s soles
The devil is in the details. For Federer, the problem was hiding under his trainers. In 2013, the seven times winner showed up at Wim’ with his new Nike trainers, the Zoom Vapor 9 with orange soles. But even King Roger is not entitled to privileges. He was asked to change shoes, the fault to his coloured soles. A victory for Nike, since they soon were out of stock. A defeat for Federer, defeated in the second round of the tournament by Serhiy Stakhovsky. But Roger is not alone. Juan Martin Del Potro also experienced the same problem, but with black soles. As for Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova it was the orange shorty under their skirts that caused a stir. After some turmoil, they were finally allowed to wear them thanks to the Golovin jurisprudence, who was the first player to try this kind of underwear. In 2007, the French had to wait for the approval of the umpire to enter the court and play her match. The spokesman of the tournament, looking prude, said to justify himself: "If they don't exceed the bottom of the dress, it's underwear not shorts."
5- Anne White’s all-in-one spandex jumpsuit
First round of Wimbledon 1985, the American Anne White was about to play against Pam Shriver, seeded No. 5. After the warm up, she removed her tracksuit, and the public discovered a strange all-in-one spandex jumpsuit with coordinating leg warmers. A way to play with the rule and bypass the restrictive dress regulations in a funny manner? Not for everyone. When the match was stopped in the evening at one set all, the umpire lectured Anne White and asked her to come back the following day with an outfit more "appropriate". He was not the only one to complain. After winning the match in three sets Pam Shriver said in the wake that the costume of her opponent distracted her. As a bonus, she asked tournament officials to ban this kind of extravagance. Lost battle for Anne White, decidedly a misnomer.