Serena Williams responds to catsuit ban by competing in tutu at the US Open
Serena Williams is widely regarded as the best tennis player of all time, and one of the greatest athletes of her generation. However, as one of the few black players dominating a mostly white sport, she is often unfairly scrutinized for her physical appearance. This includes constant criticism of her so-called "shapely," "muscular," and "masculine" body, as well as her clothing.
Of course, Serena handles the body-shaming with class and confidence. She just keeps winning Grand Slams, collecting millions in prize money and living her best life. For example, when she had a craving for Italian food her husband flew her to Italy. It's safe to say Twitter trolls are the farthest thing from her mind. So, when the French Open banned her badass Black Panther-inspired catsuit, she clapped back in the best possible way.
Now, Serena's compression bodysuit wasn't just about looking cool; the outfit served a medical purpose. "I’ve had a lot of problems with my blood clots," Serena revealed, speaking to reporters at the French Open. "God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the past 12 months. I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going." The catsuit was fun but functional, preventing problems with blood clots during play.
However, Bernard Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, wasn't a fan. He claimed ensembles such as Serena's "go too far," and announced a strict dress code for future games. Specifically, the compression bodysuit "will no longer be accepted." "One must respect the game and the place," ordered Giudicelli.
Many people were outraged to see Serena's fashion sense scrutinized. How do her sartorial choices disrespect the game, exactly? "The policing of women’s bodies must end," wrote tennis legend Billie Jean on Twitter. "The 'respect' that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies."
Anyway, Serena took the disrespect in stride. For her US Open debut, the tennis champion stunned spectators with her new outfit: a single-sleeved dress with a black tulle tutu. "Underneath, she wore black fishnet tights that provided the same compression as the catsuit to ward off blood clots. (Which, by the way, have become an even bigger health issue since Serena had her first baby last September.)
"[It's] kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free. It feels really good," Serena told reporters. "Yeah, the tutu is easy to play in because I practiced in it before. That was fun."
The ensemble was a collaboration between Nike and Off-White designer Virgila Bloh. Nike's official Twitter account shared a powerful image of the catsuit, with the quote, "You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers." Meanwhile, Virgila shared an incredible photo of the tutu on Instagram, writing, "Willing to design dresses for her for life."
After Serena won her match, fans celebrated her victory on Twitter. Whether she's wearing a sleek catsuit or a frilly tutu, she's still crushing it.