Day One: The Championships - Wimbledon 2019
Day One: The Championships - Wimbledon 2019

‘Not fair’: Anger over Wimbledon dress

WHETHER it's a stray bra strap or jocks that are too colourful, the fashion at Wimbledon always provides a talking point at this time of year and it took only one match for a star's attire to come under the microscope.

Elina Svitolina hit back at criticism of her dress on social media and defended apparel sponsor Nike after her straight sets win over Aussie Daria Gavrilova on day one at the All England Club.

Responding to a tweet suggesting Nike put in "minimum effort" for her "basic" dress, Svitolina set the record straight.

Wimbledon enforces a strict all-white dress code, meaning designers have less room to play with, and Svitolina said after attending Nike's Oregon headquarters a year ago, she has a greater appreciation of the work done to produce pieces the players can wear on court.

"I love my dress," she said in her post-match press conference before explaining why she was put off by criticism of it.

"I think it was not fair. It's not fair for designers, because they put so much work into our kit. They put so much effort in it, and then to say something that it was, that there was no effort, I think it was not fair for them.

"I went actually to the headquarters where I saw all the guys working behind the scenes. It's the same, like, for the tournament, you know. We go to play the tournament, and we just play and we think it's just everyday thing that happens.

"But it's so much work that put into the tournament and everything going around us, so we have to appreciate this."

 

Last year Aussie John Millman fell foul of the Wimbledon fashion police when officials informed him shortly before his match against Milos Raonic his undies were a bit too loud for the famous venue.

Millman sent his dad on a shopping trip to a nearby apparel store to find a more suitable undergarment and he was allowed to play on, but eventually lost to the big-serving Canadian in three sets.

Two years ago Venus Williams courted controversy by sporting a pink bra, changing midway through her match against Elise Mertens in a situation she described as "awkward". In 2015, Eugenie Bouchard was almost issued with a code violation for wearing a black sports bra, even though it was almost completely hidden.

Nobody made any mention of Gavrilova's attire during her clash against Svitolina but the Aussie has more pressing issues on her mind, revealing she may need time away from the sport to deal with foot and knee injuries and see-sawing motivation levels.

"I'm not in a good headspace right now," she said. "It could be the decision I have to make (because) probably my wellbeing comes first before trying to be a good tennis player.

"And I just have to break the cycle ... I've been having days where I'm super-motivated and up-and-about, and then there's days where I'm like, 'I'm struggling'.

"Same with my injuries. There's days where I'm fine; I don't feel anything with the Achilles and the plantar fasciitis, and there's days where's it just not good.

"So if that's going to be my tennis career, I'm not sure that's how I want to do it.

"But the scary part is if I do take time off, it's not a guarantee that it's going to get much better."

Svitolina is seeded eighth at Wimbledon and will face Margarita Gasparyan in the second round. The 24-year-old has already bettered her effort at last year's Championships, were she was knocked out in the opening round.

"Last year it was not so good but the year before it was a great run for me," Svitolina said. "I think I can play well on grass. I just need to be really focused on what I have to do on court.

"That's very important for me just to take one match at a time, don't think too much of what's going on.

"Also be healthy. That's one of the goals, one of the priorities for me, to be fresh and to give myself a chance to actually play well, because I think, you know, I can play really good. It's just a matter of getting more time on the court and just be focused on what I have to do."