Why Are Tennis Skirts So Short? (All Reasons Explained)

If you’ve ever watched women’s tennis, you’ve probably noticed that all the skirts are pretty short. Moreover, it is pretty rare in women’s tennis to wear anything but a skirt. But why are tennis skirts so short?

Tennis skirts are short because they are more comfortable, give more freedom of movement, and are safer because they don’t get in the player’s way. In addition, it offers better temperature regulation for the player, and short skirts are in line with current fashion trends.

This article explains in detail why tennis skirts are so short. In addition, you will find out if there are any dress codes in tennis for women and what alternatives there are to skirts.

5 Reasons Why Tennis Skirts Are so Short

Tennis clothing is an interesting topic with a lot to be said about. Unlike many other sports, there is no particular uniform or jersey the players must wear.

Most tennis players wear clothing from their clothing sponsor or just clothing they find comfortable.

For female tennis players, more often than not, this results in skirts. These skirts are usually pretty short, but why is that the case?

Below I will cover the main reasons why tennis skirts are so short:

1. Freedom of movement

In tennis, there is a lot of running around and getting into position to hit a ball. Sometimes players even get close to a split to be able to hit a ball.

To make all these movements, players should wear clothing that allows them to move freely. You don’t want to miss a ball because your clothing is too restricting, so that is why female tennis players wear short skirts.

Because of their length and their usually flowing design, tennis skirts are very unlikely to restrict the movements the player wants to make.

 2. Safety

Safety is another reason why tennis skirts are so short. This is quite similar to the first reason.

Short skirts do not restrict movement, so a player cannot trip or fall because the fabric is in the way. Short clothing that is not stretched too much is also less likely to tear.

 3. Temperature control

Tennis matches can last for several hours. The player will definitely sweat a lot if the match is played while temperatures are high.

To stay as cool as possible, it can help to wear a short skirt. Short skirts have less fabric, which means it gets less warm.

It also allows for sweat to get away easier, and it allows for a slight breeze to help cool you down while running from one side of the court to the other.

4. Fashion

Another reason that might seem less important than the others but very much affects what gets worn and what doesn’t is fashion.

It has been common for women to wear skirts while playing tennis for ages, but in the beginning, those skirts used to be very long. Over time, while fashion changed, the skirts became shorter.

It is fashionable to wear miniskirts with everyday clothing, and this fashion trend is also visible in tennis.

5. Tennis players are expected to look good

It has been a controversial topic for a while, and not just in tennis. Still, the sexualization of female tennis players is something to mention on this list as well.

Women are expected to wear short skirts to make them look good to the public eye.

For example, this is important for the clothing brands, as they get lots of exposure if many people pay attention to what the player is wearing. 

How Long Should Tennis Skirts be?

There is no strict rule about how long tennis skirts should be. Most tennis skirts are between 11 and 15 inches, with about 13 inches seeming to be the most common.

Ultimately, you should pick a length that you are comfortable with. You can go longer or shorter if you can find a skirt like that.

However, if the organization of a tournament deems it inappropriate, they might make you change it. Wimbledon is known to be a tournament that is quite strict with the outfits they allow players to wear.

Is There a Dress Code in Women’s Tennis?

In general, there are no rules for what a woman can and cannot wear in tennis. However, it is important to keep in mind that you are going out in public.

If you decide to wear booty shorts and a bra, it’s not technically forbidden, but it will be frowned upon, and the tournament organizers might very well ask you to choose a different outfit.

When a tennis player is sponsored, they will probably have to wear clothing from this brand.

This usually is the newest collection, which means the player does not have a lot of freedom with what they wear. So while there is no official dress code for women in tennis, their choices can still be very limited.

It also explains why it happens quite often that players are wearing the same outfit.

While there is no rule about whether or not players should wear a skirt, it does seem to be the standard.

Most brands create sets that have skirts, and there is a much wider range of tennis skirts available than other kinds of bottoms.

A special shoutout goes out to Wimbledon. This tournament does have very strict clothing rules.

All tennis players must play in white; even small pops of color are a risk.

If the organization deems the color to be too much, they won’t allow the player to play.

You also have to wear white underwear at Wimbledon, as sweaty clothes become see-through, which might show the underwear’s color.

So, is it mandatory to wear short skirts in tennis?

No. it is not mandatory to wear short skirts in tennis. For example, you can wear longer skirts or no skirts but shorts. You are even allowed to switch up, meaning you can wear a skirt for one match and then a pair of shorts for the next one.

As long as your outfits stay appropriate, you can wear pretty much whatever you want.

Are Tennis Skirts Controversial?

In general, tennis skirts are not very controversial. Most people interested in tennis, whether the players, the audience, or anyone else, are used to the skirts. They don’t have a problem with it.

The first short skirts did cause some controversy, especially since the first tennis skirts were floor-length.

Nowadays, we are used to short skirts, and there are other more controversial outfits, such as catsuits.

Tennis skirts, especially short ones, have become so normal in tennis that you won’t find a brand that sells tennis clothing but not skirts.

In fact, as a woman, it is easier to find tennis skirts than it is to find tennis shorts.

What do Female Tennis Players Wear Under Their Skirts?

Women usually don’t want their whole body to be on display at every little gust of wind when playing tennis. While not all tennis skirts have built-in shorts, most of them do.

Built-in shorts are convenient as they often match the color of the skirt. They help a player feel safe and secure, while it also helps with holding balls.

If the spandex shorts aren’t connected to the skirts, playing can choose to wear a separate pair of spandex or to wear compression shorts.

For underwear, there are no guidelines either.

If you want to wear a thong, you can wear a thong. If you want to wear more covering panties, that’s no problem either. You can even go without underwear if you want.

(Click here to find out more about what tennis players wear under their skirts)

Alternatives to Tennis Skirts

There are plenty of alternatives for female tennis players who do not want to wear tennis skirts.


Dresses are an alternative to skirts. Even though they might not differ that much from skirts, it is a different article of clothing that comes with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Dresses are pretty popular, even though these can be just as short as tennis skirts.


If a female player does not like to wear skirts, and dresses are still too similar, there is an option to wear shorts.

Shorts are not just acceptable for men; women can wear them too.

Many female players who wear skirts and dresses during matches wear shorts during practice, but some women wear shorts during matches.


In 2017, Serena Williams wore a black catsuit at Roland Garros, which became the topic of many conversations. While some loved it, others thought it was a step too far.

While she was allowed to compete, the tournament’s organization did ban her from wearing it the following year.

So if you want to wear a catsuit to a tournament, do it at your own risk.


Something else that may be a good alternative to a tennis skirt is leggings. However, most leggings do not have pockets, making them more suitable for practice than actual matches.

However, no rules are stopping you from wearing them to a match.

You can also decide to wear leggings underneath a tennis skirt as Iga Swiatek did at the 2020 French Open.


Tennis skirts are short for many reasons, but freedom of movement is the biggest. When playing a match, players do not want to be restricted by their clothing.

It is also safer to wear short skirts than long skirts, and short skirts fit the latest fashion trends.

Female tennis players are not in any way forced to wear skirts, though, as tennis does not have many dress codes.

Dresses, shorts, or other alternatives are considered to be okay as well.

Brian Henderson

I am what you might call a true tennis fanatic. When I am not on the tennis court teaching or playing myself, I am probably writing an informative article about tennis. My goal is to get as many people as possible excited and informed about tennis.
May 25, 2022
Published: May 25, 2022