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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
What not to wear at Wimbledon
By Sarah Holt

Roll up your trouser-legs and cut off those shirt sleeves because Spanish style icon - and world number three - Rafael Nadal is coming to Wimbledon.

Rafael Nadal tries out his grass game in Germany
Nadal coordinates with Halle's grass but what will he wear at Wimbledon?

Forget asking if the French Open champion can transfer his muscular game to grass.

The hottest pre-tournament talk has been whether he can get his famous "piratas" trousers and colourful sleeveless tops past Wimbledon's conservative officials.

BBC Sport finds out the fate of Nadal's trousers and looks back at others who have tested Wimbledon's dress code.


The All England Club has already given Nadal's three-quarter length shorts the thumbs-up for the 2005 tournament - but not the garish green vest.

The Spanish teenager signed a deal with sports clothing firm Nike to wear his trademark piratas this season.

And all manufacturers must submit their designs to the Wimbledon officials for approval some time ahead of the championships begin.

I think these pants are extremely comfortable
Rafael Nadal

"People have played in longer trousers in the past so if he wants to play in them he can," a Wimbledon spokesman told BBC Sport.

"We trialled sleeveless tops last year so that's OK too. The green will not be allowed as the Wimbledon dress code stipulates clothes must be almost entirely white."

Now Nadal's wardrobe worries are over, the only question the precocious talent will be asking himself is whether to pack enough piratas for two days or two weeks?


In 1985, Ann White caused eye-boggling scenes by turning up for her first-round match in an all-in-one skin-tight cat suit.

Dress: players' clothing on court, including shoes, for all competitions and for practice on the championship courts must be almost entirely white
Wimbledon players' rule book

Back then, White described her outfit as a perfect combination of "fashion and function" - her legs got cold at Wimbledon, apparently.

Now, the American admits she was probably ahead of her time.

The officials agreed and after her match was delayed by rain, she was told by referee Alan Mills not to wear the outfit the next day.


Las Vegan Andre Agassi refused to play at Wimbledon not only because the grass surface did not suit his baseline tennis but because he did not approve of the all-white dress code.

Andre Agassi shows-off his style circa 1991
Agassi style circa 1991 was too wild for Wimbledon

Compatriot John McEnroe may have refused to wear the denim shorts that were originally designed for him in the 1980s - but Agassi embraced them.

The flamboyant American teamed them with fluorescent pink cycling shorts, loud bandanas and his flowing rock-star mullet to make a name for himself as the most colourful player on the tour.

In 1991, the 21-year-old Agassi lifted his self-imposed Wimbledon ban and returned to face down the All England Club officials.

When he strolled onto court, the showman had the crowds craning to see just what he was wearing underneath his zipped-up tracksuit.

Agassi played his captive audience delightfully, revealing at the last possible minute - an all-white shirt and shorts of course.


A dip into the history books of the All England Club reveals a hot-bed of rebellion happening in the changing rooms since the championships began in 1877.

Frenchwoman Suzanne Lenglen brought a touch of "je ne sais quoi" to Wimbledon on her way to winning five titles in the 1920s.

Lenglen's dresses were extravagant, calf-length silk affairs which she wore with a brightly coloured bandeau wrapped around her head and held together with a diamond pin.

Suzanne Lenglen on court in 1920
Lenglen still managed to chase the ball in her extravagant get-up

And even on the hottest days, Lenglen topped off the ensemble with a fur coat.

In 1949, Gertrude "Gorgeous Gussie" Moran braved the wrath of the officials by asking if she could compete in a coloured dress.

Her request was turned down so she responded by wearing a short tennis dress, designed to flash frequent glimpses of her lace-trimmed, frilly knickers.

Things were not quite so racy on the men's side.

The Fred Perry brand might now be synonymous with mod culture but, in his playing days, the three-time Wimbledon champion played in traditional full-length trousers and tucked-in white shirt.

Fellow Briton Bunny Austin dared to show more leg by becoming the first top male player to wear shorts in 1932.

Daisy Dukes was the first woman to follow suit a year later but sexier skirts and dresses remain the favourite for female tennis players seeking lucrative sponsorship deals.


Ana Kournikova at Wimbledon in 2002
Kournikova is whiter-than-white after her run-in at Wimbledon

Anna Kournikova may have done the sport a great service by introducing the shock-absorbing, non-bounce bra - but she cannot get it right all the time.

The glamorous Russian ran into trouble with Wimbledon's dress-code police during a practice session in 2002.

Kournikova was made to take her shorts off on court because they were black.

The Russian continued her session after borrowing a pair of men's white, baggy shorts from her coach though she had to cut off the sponsor's logo first.

Another heart-throb - er - John McEnroe fell foul of the same rule a few years before.

Wimbledon officials were most definitely serious when he walked out on court in black shorts and promptly sent him back to get changed.


An honourary mention goes to Venus and Serena Williams, who are almost as famous for their passion for fashion as they are for their tennis.

Serena has her own label and has not been afraid to experiment on court, memorably causing a stir with her black PVC cat-suit in 2002 and her calf-high tennis "boots" this season.

But when it comes to Wimbledon the sisters have toned down their colourful outfits to adher to Wimbledon's dress code - well, just about anyway.

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