Wimbledon threatens crack-down on cleavage
Miss Sharapova, consider yourself warned. Wimbledon's fashion police are on high alert, and are threatening to ban players from the storied grass courts of the The All England Lawn Tennis Club for wearing outfits deemed too revealing.
Wimbledon officials have reportedly cautioned competitors that they need to comply with the tournament's strict and conservative dress code, or risk being disqualified.
According to a report in the London Times, the 2006 Wimbledon players' guide includes these new words of warning: "Any competitor who appears on court dressed in a manner which is deemed unsuitable by the committee will be liable to be defaulted."
The caution is no doubt an attempt to reinforce Wimbledon's long-standing policy of insisting players wear almost exclusively white attire. But it is also believed to be directed at players such as Sharapova, Tatiana Golovin and Maria Kirilenko, whose tastes tend to lean toward more low-cut and revealing outfits than those traditionally seen at Wimbledon.
The extra-long "pirate" shorts often worn by Spaniard Rafael Nadal, though not traditional, are apparently fit for use, provided they're white.
Low-cut outfits like this one worn by Maria Kirilenko will be frowned upon at Wimbledon.
"There have been various outfits over the years that have caused everything from huge enjoyment to huge outrage, depending on your viewpoint," Wimbledon tournament referee Andrew Jarrett told theTimes. "A lot of people wondered what the reaction would be to Nadal's pirate shorts last year. We were very relaxed about it. He turned up in a beautiful white pair and they are now part of his persona.
"We have accepted the bare midriff because when virtually every player serves I defy any of them not to show their midriff when they are stretching up. The new guide for competitors says it needs to be suitable tennis attire. That is a vague statement but anything that doesn't fit into that description we will look into. Once you set down rules people will try to get round it."
In what was considered a major concession to fashion, Wimbledon last week unveiled new navy blue outfits from American designer Polo Ralph Lauren for its 570 umpires, ball girls and ball boys.