Eugenie Bouchard slams Wimbledon rule that causes 'anxiety' to female players

Bouchard opens up on playing during a period and why Wimbledon's all-white clothing policy doesn't help at all.

by Dzevad Mesic
Eugenie Bouchard slams Wimbledon rule that causes 'anxiety' to female players
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Eugenie Bouchard says Wimbledon's all-white clothing policy remains an issue for female players because wearing white clothes during a period causes "anxiety" and doesn't really allow a player to fully focus on tennis because they fear in the back of their mind what if something appears on their clothes. 

While tennis as a game has made several changes over the last few years and introduced some new things, Wimbledon has remained reluctant to make any huge changes regarding its clothing policy despite public calls and criticism. But the criticism sent Wimbledon's way did accomplish something as in 2022 the tournament officials relaxed a bit the clothing rule after allowing female players to wear darker shots. But the shirt and skirt still have to be all-white and shorts are the only thing that can be colored. 

While that was something that was welcomed by female players, some think it wasn't enough and that Wimbledon needed to do more. 

And Bouchard, who reached the Wimbledon final in her second tournament appearance in 2014, says playing during periods is already extremely challenging and wearing an all-white shirt at Wimbledon makes that way more harder.

"Unfortunately we cannot plan our own tennis matches, that is something completely out of our control. The tournament decides the schedule and when you play, so there's no chance for that at all. I've definitely experienced really bad period cramps, pain, and I remember having that the day before the US Open in New York," Bouchard said during a conversation with Valeria Lipovetsky on the Not Alone podcast.

"And I was like 'thank god this is just a practice day today, because if I had to play my match today it would be really hard'. I did play right away the next day so it wasn't the best but it's just something we have to deal with. We cannot control the schedule so it's just luck.

"And I know some of the girls on tour also get a little worried when it comes to Wimbledon because you have to wear white. So it just makes you a little more self-conscious if you' know. It's tough, but now they've changed the rules where you can wear like a different-colored undergarment - so your ball shorts under the dress can be a different color. But that's a super-recent rule."

Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard © Getty Images Sport - Mike Hewitt

Bouchard opens up on how criticism impacted her life 

After Bouchard's 2014 Wimbledon result and breaking into the top-5, she was naturally tipped to do big things in the future. 

But that didn't happen and when hard times came and Bouchard wasn't regarded anymore as one of the best in the game, she became one of the most criticized and scrutinized tennis players. And one of the most popular criticisms that came the Canadian's way was that she stopped caring about tennis after 2014 Wimbledon and that she became more focused on some other stuff. 

Now, Bouchard admits that she heard or read about those comments and that they had an impact on her because she started doing certain things because she didn't want to be criticized. 

"I would like to say that somewhat early on I was open to doing off-court projects or different things - and that's something actually I got, at times, negative comments about, because it was like 'well, you're a tennis player, you shouldn't be doing a photoshoot for Vogue. Like, what are you doing?'" Bouchard recalled. 

"Back in the day I think that it was a lot less acceptable to do that. People really wanted you to stay in your box a lot more. And so it made me feel bad, it made me feel guilty. I'm like 'well I did still practice four hours today, I swear' and I just felt this aggressive kind of guilting put on me.

"I really stayed with tennis - some off-court projects here and there - and then it was just more recently where I'm now playing pickleball and have my hands in multiple different things, and I feel a huge sense of enjoyment out of that, because since five, since eight, since nine it's really been only tennis. And I love it."

Eugenie Bouchard
Eugenie Bouchard © Getty Images Sport - Clive Brunskill

When it comes to her current tennis situation, Bouchard is ranked at No. 522 in the world and her lone appearance this year came at an ITF tournament last month. Nowadays, Bouchard does work for Tennis Channel as an analyst and she also made her pro pickleball debut earlier this year.

Eugenie Bouchard Wimbledon