'Why do we need to be shy about talking about it?' - Tennis star Alicia Barnett opens up about stress of wearing Wimbledon whites on her period

British tennis star Alicia Barnett has opened up about the stress of wearing Wimbledon whites while on her period and trying to play world-class tennis while feeling "bloated and tired".

Gloucestershire-born Barnett, 28, made her debut at the tournament on Friday with a victory in the first round of the mixed doubles alongside fellow team GB player Jonny O'Mara.

She then returned to the grass courts on Sunday with O'Mara, and in a thrilling second round match knocked out Venus Williams and Britain's Jamie Murray.

The pair are among several British players left in the tournament after Cameron Norrie reached the quarter-finals of the men's singles after beating American Tommy Paul.

Speaking ahead of the match, Barnett said suffering with a "really heavy" period impacted her play in the qualifiers.

"I do think some traditions could be changed," she said, when asked if Wimbledon's traditional all-white dress code should be changed to ease stress on female players.

But she added: "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."

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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 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.

She said her tennis-mad father, siblings and friends supported her during her Court 5 game, and her mother Jennifer Barnett, who died eight years ago, would have been the "loudest and proudest" on the side-lines.