The old chaps who run the All-England Club were not at all worried what Miss Harkleroad had on as long as the color was proper . "As long as she is wearing clothes, and they are white,'' insisted a spokesman, "we will be happy."
For a second straight day on Tuesday, the second day of Wimbledon 2008, style was bigger than substance, although not to be dismissed were first-round victories by Venus Williams, the defending women's singles champion, Lindsay Davenport, Andy Roddick and James Blake, the American Legion.
This preoccupation with fashion started on Monday when men's champion Roger Federer wore a cardigan _ or as Roddick called it, a "Mr. Rogers Sweater.'' That was followed by Serena Williams in a trench coat
Then Tuesday, Maria Sharapova appeared for warm-ups in a men's tuxedo jacket under which she sort of had on a sheer top that was described as a "bathing suit coverup'' and shorts.
If you sense a pattern, well, Roger, Serena and Sharapova all are under contract for Nike, which Sharapova, a 6-1, 6-4 winner over someone named Stephanie Fortz, pointed out likes to get noticed.
As if Tiger Woods was ineffective in that regard before his injury.
Davenport also gets the big bucks from Nike. When she had about five pounds of tape wrapped around her sore right knee during a break between the second and third sets of a 6-3, 5-7, 6-3 victory over Renata Voracova, the surprise was someone didn't paint a swoosh on the bandage.
"Maybe we should do that,'' said Lindsay with a laugh.
Blake is also a Nike endorser, Venus has her own clothing line and Roddick dresses in LaCoste, with its familiar crocodile.
"I personally don't care,'' was Roddick's observation about this fashion obsession. "But I think any attention drawn to tennis is good. If that means wearing the Mr. Rogers' sweater, whatever else you got. So be it. I don't know if it would be a good look for me or any of my friends.''
Sharapova offered a similar thought, something along the lines you have to do what you have to do.
"We have to realize,'' said Sharapova, "that in this world tennis is sort of small compared to soccer and American football. You're not going to sell as many tennis dresses, so you have to create things that are exciting.''
What America's been trying to create the last few years are tennis players who are exciting. And successful.
Davenport retired, had a baby, and almost as a valedictory tour, has returned past her prime. Venus, who beat Naomi Cavady, 7-6, 6-1, and Serena are trying to stay consistent. Roddick, a finalist here twice, and Blake usually get as far as the third round.
That's it. The rest of tennis is dominated by people whose names end in "ic'' or "ova,'' other than Mr. Federer or Rafael Nadal.
So as Roddick, who won over Eduardo Schwank, 7-5, 6-4, 7-6, contended, it's what you on court rather than what you wear.
"If those other people can pull that off, fine,'' said Roddick. "But I'n not very good at jackets and sweaters. I want to win. I want to go far in this tournament. I think I can.''
Andy is 25. He won the U.S. Open in 2003, was runner-up to Federer in 2004 and 2005. The sixth seed this year, Roddick still believes. Others still believe in Roddick, especially if he has that serve going.
The others say he was asked what he enjoyed most about Wimbledon, and as many, alluded to the atmosphere, the idea this is the oldest tournament on the globe. What he liked least was the undeniable fact he hadn't won.
"I don't know if I've ever been the one that everyone's talking about,'' Roddick explained, conceding that Federer, Nadal and Novak Djokovic were 1-2-3 in the rankings, and were champions in one of the last three Grand Slam events.
"I really don't care,'' he said. "I just want to win matches. To be honest, it's kind of nice to be overlooked.''
If that weren't the truth he would have come out on court in something more than a white shirt and a white hat.