Serena Williams's First French Open Outfit Sent an Important Message After Catsuit Ban
In May 2018, Serena Williams made her triumphant return to the tennis world after the birth of her daughter, Olympia, the previous September. For her first tournament back—the French Open—she marked the occasion in a black short-sleeve catsuit accented with a red belt. In an interview with the Guardian, the tennis superstar said the look made her feel like a superhero. Then, it was unceremoniously banned from future tournaments.
In a move that sparked controversy and push-back, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli banned similar one-piece outfits from future tournaments. At the time, ESPN reported that Giudicelli had called out Williams' catsuit and said, "I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far. It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place."
A year later, Williams is back at the French Open, and while she didn't wear a catsuit for her first match, the outfit she did choose certainly sent a message.
Arriving at the stadium in Paris, Williams wore a cape-style jacket with the words “Champion,” “Queen,” “Goddess” and “Mother” in French. The ensemble was designed by Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike.
When it was time to hit the court, she shed her jacket to reveal a matching crop top and skirt over shorts.
The look was true to Williams's fun and functional court style (we're still not over the one-shoulder, lavender tutu dress she rocked at last year's U.S. Open). And though it obviously didn't address last year's controversy directly, we think it sent a pretty important message about not letting haters get you down.
Take that, stuffy tennis people.