A STROUD tennis star has opened up about the pressures of playing Wimbledon while on her period. 

Gloucestershire-born Alicia Barnett, 28, made her SW19 debut on Friday by winning her first-round doubles games alongside fellow team GB player Jonny O’Mara.

The British duo then knocked out Venus Williams and Jamie Murray on Sunday to reach the mixed doubles quarter-finals. 

Stroud News and Journal: Alicia Barnett and playing partner Jonny O'Mara Alicia Barnett and playing partner Jonny O'Mara

Speaking with the PA news agency on Saturday, Barnett, from Painswick said suffering with a “really heavy” period impacted her play in the qualifying matches for the Championships.

When asked whether the all-white dress code should be amended to alleviate stress on female players, she said: “I do think some traditions could be changed.


“I, for one, am a massive advocate for women’s rights and I think having this discussion is just amazing, that people are now talking about it.

“Personally, I love the tradition of all-whites and I think we will handle it pretty well.

“I think being on your period on the tour is hard enough, but to wear whites as well isn’t easy.

“But girls can handle it.

"We’re pretty tough when it comes down to it.”

Barnett, who is known by her friends as Lissey, added: “During the pre-qualifying, I was on my period and the first few days were really heavy, and I was a bit stressed about that.”

Asked whether it affected her ability to play, she said: “Definitely.

“Your body feels looser, your tendons get looser, sometimes you feel like you’re a lot more fatigued, sometimes your co-ordination just feels really off, and for me I feel really down and it’s hard to get that motivation.

“Obviously, you’re trying to play world-class tennis but it’s really hard when you’re PMS-ing and you feel bloated and tired.

“Why do we need to be shy about talking about it?

“I know men aren’t shy about talking about a lot of things.”

Barnett said she hopes the taboo around periods will continue to be worn down by players increasingly speaking about it, leading to funding for more female-focused research into training techniques.

“But then you realise where you are and put it into perspective and think, ok, life is short, let’s make the most of where we are right now.”