Nick Kyrgios controversy: Wimbledon's strict dress code explained

The Australian player broke the all-white dress code during his victory on Monday

Nick Kyrgios wears a red cap as he enters Centre Court. PA
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Nick Kyrgios's fourth-round win over Brandon Nakashima at Wimbledon almost finished without controversy — until the Australian player made headlines for his choice of attire.

The world No 40 flouted Wimbledon’s strict dress code, a tradition the tournament has had since it was founded 145 years ago.

While Kyrgios stuck to the all-white dress code for the match itself, he changed into red-and-white Air Jordan trainers and a matching red cap to enter and leave Wimbledon’s Centre Court.

Nick Kyrgios changed into red-and-white Air Jordan trainers and a red cap to leave the court. Reuters

Following his victory, Kyrgios was asked by a reporter why he chose to break the rules, to which he replied: "Because I do what I want. I'm not above the rules. I just like wearing my Jordans."

Kyrgios, who last week was handed a $10,000 fine for spitting in the direction of a spectator who heckled him, seemed unimpressed by the line of questioning surrounding his clothing. "That's more attention for me,” he said. “What's that saying; any publicity's good publicity, right? Keep doing you then, champion."

However, he joked he would pay more attention in his quarter-final match, and "wear some triple-whites".

Scroll through the gallery to see Nick Kyrgios's match against Brandon Nakashima

The history of Wimbledon’s dress code

All-white clothing has been worn at Wimbledon since the tournament began in 1877. Everyone who steps on the court at the UK tournament, from reigning champions to qualifiers, is subject to the same strict rules.

“Competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white and this applies from the point at which the player enters the court surround,” the rules state. “White does not include off-white or cream.”

The dress code was implemented not only for fashion reasons, but as a “great leveller”, tournament organisers say, meaning if a player wants to get noticed, “they must do so through their play”, not by their choice of attire.

In a video explaining the rules, Wimbledon organisers say it’s a “tradition they are rather proud of”.

While players have in the past chosen to wear whites with some coloured piping or logos (a strict one-centimetre width is all that is permitted), the all-white rules have remained staunch.

However, it is reported an exception has been made for this year’s tournament, allowing players to wear blue and yellow ribbons or piping on their clothing, to show solidarity with Ukraine.

Poland’s Iga Swiatek, as well as Ukrainian players Lesia Tsurenko and Anhelina Kalinina, all chose to show their support by adding the colours of the Ukrainian flag to their match clothing.

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Updated: July 05, 2022, 10:20 AM