Sunday 22 January 2017

Let rackets do the talking - not outfits

Female tennis players can't complain about sexism when they wear negligees on court, writes Donal Lynch

Donal Lynch

Published 03/07/2016 | 02:30

SHEER: Eugenie Bouchard in action against Johanna Konta on day Four of Wimbledon. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire
SHEER: Eugenie Bouchard in action against Johanna Konta on day Four of Wimbledon. Photo: John Walton/PA Wire

In a week of cataclysmic world events it was almost comforting to see that certain seasonal trivia can still make headlines. The British media was so throughly bored by the start of Wimbledon that it made the first two days all about arse. Tennis once again was deep background in a narrative dominated by frills, legs and peek-a-boo midriffs.

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In previous years this had to be achieved by focussing on the colour of knickers the female players are allowed to wear or on "smouldering" photoshoots, which the likes of Caroline Wozniacki recently did for sundry men's magazines. But this year there was no need for any of that.

The jaw-dropping impracticality of Nike's new dresses - which look like translucent baby doll nighties - did the trick. Cue a million pieces gasping at how the sportswear giant could have clad the players in garments that make them look more like centrefolds than elite athletes. The Sun fretted about whether Serena could have her hemline adjusted in time. The Mail worried about British player Katie Swan who "had to tuck her nightie into her shorts." With accompanying glossy pics, naturally.

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