‘Champion, Queen, Goddess’: Serena Williams silences French Open fashion critics with a zany superhero-inspired ensemble covered in empowering words – after the tournament banned her ‘disrespectful’ skintight catsuit
- The 37-year-old won her match against Russian tennis player Vitalia Diatchenko
- She started off on the wrong foot, losing the first set 2-6, but soon found her rhythm and went on to dominate the second two, winning 6-1, 6-0
- Serena wore a navy-and-white crop top and skirt, that had fishnet across the stomach and was designed by Off-White’s Virgil Abloh and Nike
- She shared images of the ensemble the day before the tournament, revealing that it also comes with a cape and a long navy-and-white skirt
- Virgil and Nike were also responsible for the funky tutu dresses the mother-of-one wore at the 2018 US Open
- It was revealed in August last year that the French Tennis Federation had chosen to ban the black Nike catsuit that Serena wore at the 2018 French Open
- The FTF president said the organization had chosen to introduce new rules to regulate players’ outfits, calling Serena’s catsuit ‘disrespectful to the game’
She may have been banned from wearing at catsuit at last year’s French Open, but the controversy hasn’t stopped Serena Williams making a fashion statement on the court.
The tennis star, 37, turned heads in an unusual superhero-inspired outfit, designed by Virgil Abloh and Nike.
The black and white ensemble even comes with a cape featuring the words ‘Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess’ in French, although she did not wear this while playing.
Making a statement: Serena Williams made her debut at the French Open in a wacky navy-and-white ensemble designed by Off-White’s Virgil Abloh and Nike
Powerful: The ensemble featured empowering words like ‘goddess’, ‘mother’, ‘queen’ and ‘champion’ within the graphic design
Saucy: Her crop top and skirt also featured black fishnet across the stomach, and she wore it with matching navy-and-white sneakers
A new look: Serena, 37, debuted her new look on social media the day before the tournament, revealing that it comes complete with a long cape and a maxi skirt
It comes after Williams was banned from wearing her trademark catsuits, with French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli saying last year: ‘I believe we have sometimes gone too far.
‘Serena’s outfit, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.’
While the mother-of-one seems to have stuck to the new rules regarding player attire, she certainly wasn’t willing to go down without a sartorial fight – something she made very clear with her bold ensemble on Monday.
Although perhaps more traditional than a catsuit in its skirt-and-top design, the vibrant pattern and multiple layers meant that all eyes couldn’t help but remain on Serena throughout the match, which she won two sets to one, even as she was warming up and began removing different layers.
Upon her arrival at the court, Serena was wearing a long-sleeved jacket in the same pattern as her skirt, with words like ‘champion’ and ‘goddess’ written in French across the front, and framed in the traditional Off-White double quotation marks.
When she began warming up the mother-of-one removed the jacket, to reveal a plain black long-sleeved sports jacket, which she wore for the first few points. After that was removed, it was revealed that Serena had on a long-sleeved shirt in the same navy-and-white pattern as her skirt and crop top.
Finally, she stripped down to the base look: a crop top and skirt combo that had fishnet detailing across the stomach.
The day before her match, Serena took to social media to reveal the full look behind her on-court ensemble, sharing a series of powerful images of herself modeling the complete outfit, which comes complete with a long skirt and cape-style cover up.
In the black-and-white photos, Serena can be seen proudly showing off the outfit while posing with its designer, Off-White’s Virgil Abloh, as well as several models wearing other Off-White x Nike designs.
And her superhero outfit seems to have worked wonders, as she overcame a slow start for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 win over 83rd-ranked Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia in her opener.
Williams had completed only three matches since her Australian Open ended four months ago, and she cited a bothersome left knee when pulling out of her past two tournaments.
During an error-filled first set, Williams was constantly shaking her head and yelling at herself.
But the 23-time Grand Slam champion quickly changed the momentum by winning the opening three games of the second set.
After committing 14 unforced errors in the first set, Williams had a total of 10 in the second and third sets.
Afterward, Williams seemed more relieved than pleased at avoiding what would have been only the second loss of her career in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament – after her defeat to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros in 2012.
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