The Duchess of Cambridge, who presented Kyrgios with his runners-up trophy, didn’t react noticeably to Kyrgios’ faux pas. However, other observers were left stunned – especially as Kyrgios received flak after donning the red cap earlier in the tournament.
A journalist called the move Kyrgios’ final act of defiance. Others pointed out that Kyrgios could face a fine. A Wimbledon spokeswoman could not confirm early Monday whether Kyrgios was punished.
The rule that players wear white on the tennis court comes from the Beginning of the tournament in 1877. At the time, it was widely believed that sweating was inappropriate and that white clothing would either curb or hide a player’s sweat, Time reported. However, over time, the dress code at Wimbledon has not relaxed. In fact, it has become stricter, even among tournament officials Checking the color of the players’ underwear during games.
Now the rule is that players must wear “proper tennis attire that is almost entirely white…from the point the player enters the court environment.” Acceptable clothing “must not contain off-white or cream,” and colored detailing around the neckline or sleeves “must not be more than one centimeter wide.” There are other very specific guidelines, although some players were allowed to wear colors supporting Ukraine this year.
Wimbledon is a far cry from its sweat-phobic origins recently hugged the all-white rule as a “great leveler” and a way to “highlight the tennis and the players” rather than their attire.
But even the game’s best champions have questioned the rule. Roger Federer, an eight-time Wimbledon champion, said in 2014 that a dramatic tightening of the dress code this year was “too strict,” the New York Times reported. A year earlier, Federer was forced to change his boots after wearing an orange-soled pair during his first-round match, according to the Associated Press.
Before winning Wimbledon in 1992, American Andre Agassi had boycotted the tournament, eschewing its traditionalism and dress code. “Why do I have to wear white? I don’t want to wear white,” Agassi wrote in his 2009 memoir. “Why should these people care what I wear?”
This year, protesters turned up at the main gates of the tournament, urging organizers to change the dress code because players may be afraid to wear all-white clothing during their menstrual period, the Guardian said. The protesters wore white tops and red shorts – outfits modeled after Tatiana Golovin, a French player who got away with wearing bright red knickers on the Wimbledon pitch in 2007.
While Kyrgios isn’t the only one to disapprove of Wimbledon’s dress code, he has angered observers in other ways. He was fined $10,000 in late June for spitting at a bystander who Kyrgios said molested him. During his game with Djokovic on Sunday, Kyrgios chased the chair umpire to remove a distracting spectator who he said had had “700 drinks” and was fined $4,000 for drinking during the game had cursed audibly.
After his fourth-round win over Brandon Nakashima last week, Kyrgios wore a red Nike beanie along with a pair of red and white Air Jordans.
After the game, a reporter asked Kyrgios why he was breaking the rules.
“Because I do what I want,” Kyrgios replied.
Don’t the rules apply to him?
“I just like wearing my Jordans,” said Kyrgios.