British tennis star Alicia Barnett is candid about the stress of wearing it Wimbledon whites during her period and how menstrual symptoms affect her game.
Gloucestershire-born Barnett, 28, has advanced to the mixed-doubles quarter-finals, alongside teammate GB player Jonny O’Mara, after a win Venus Williams and that of Great Britain Jamie Murray in the round of 16 on Sunday (July 3).
Barnett and O’Mara return to the grass courts on Tuesday (July 5) for the quarter-finals against Australian tennis players Matthew Ebden and Samantha Stotsur.
Speaking with the press association news agency on Saturday (July 2), Barnett revealed she was “a little stressed” about getting her period during pre-qualifying matches.
Barnett said: “During pre-qualifying I had my period and the first few days were really tough, and I was a little stressed about that.”
She explained how it affects her playing and continued: “Your body feels looser, your tendons loosen up, sometimes you feel like you’re a lot more fatigued, sometimes your coordination just feels really bad, and for me I feel really down and it’s hard to get that motivation.
“Of course you try to play world-class tennis, but it’s really hard when you’re on PMS and you feel bloated and tired,” she added.
When asked whether Wimbeldon’s mandatory all-white dress code should be changed to reduce stress for female players, she told the agency: “I think some traditions can be changed.
“For example, I’m a big supporter of women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just great that people are talking about it now,” Barnett continued, “I think it’s hard enough to get your period on tour. But wearing whites isn’t easy either. But girls can handle it. We’re pretty tough when it comes down to it.”
She also said she hopes the taboo surrounding menstruation will continue to be broken by players who are increasingly talking about it, leading to funding for more female-focused research into training techniques.
“Why do we have to be shy to talk about it?” she asked, adding, “I know men aren’t shy about talking about a lot of things.”
When asked for her opinion on the impact of menstruation on sportswomen, Britain’s number six, Yuriko Miyazaki, 26, said it is “tough” for some players.
When asked whether the dress code for all-whites should be changed significantly, she said, “I’m not so sure.
“Of course there’s a whole tradition about wearing white clothes at Wimbledon and it’s really classic,” she continued, adding: “It’s hard for some female players, but it’s something I’m just really used to. .”