Periods are "one more tough thing" for women tennis players to deal with, says defending Wimbledon ladies' champion Petra Kvitova.
The Czech star, ranked number 2 in the world, was asked whether "girl things" ever affected her game at a press conference ahead of this year's Wimbledon tournament.
To giggles from the predominantly male press, an unfazed Kvitova replied "I think that for normal women, they know about [the issue]," the Huffington Post UK reported.
"If we have to play the match or training or something, it's difficult."
"It's never really easy to deal with one more tough thing. I think always the beginning of this kind of period, it's tough."
Kvitova is not the first tennis player to speak about about the extent to which periods can affect her game, and ultimately her career.
Earlier this year British player Heather Watson told BBC Sport dizziness, nausea and low energy caused by her period had contributed to her first round exit from the Australian Open.
"I think it's just one of these things that I have - girl things," she said.
Another British player, Tara Moore, wants tennis officials to change the rule which currently only allows players one toilet break per set.
"At Wimbledon we have to wear white, so it's quite a big deal. Especially because male players don't understand that we have another element to deal with.
"[Bleeding on your uniform] is something you feel quite worried about. If something like that happens it's mortifying - it's a nightmare."
Players like Kvitova, Watson and Moore should be applauded for speaking out on this taboo topic and stimulating discussion about periods and sport, says Hannah Ross, founder of local tampon delivery service Scarlet Delivery.
"For young girls who are just starting to use tampons and pads, they are uneasy about playing sports because they are still coming to grips with how these products work."
Women shouldn't feel like they have to avoid the gym once a month, says Ross.
"Exercise actually helps relieve many symptoms of period pain, as it releases serotonin, which gives you a natural boost and helps improve your mood."
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