Serena Williams shocked audiences for a second time since the start of the Grand Slam tournaments by showing up to the U.S Open in a black tutu, and won. Fans everywhere are raving about this amazingly uncommon ensemble.
Williams sported a Virgil Abloh custom designed tutu, along with Nike at the first round of the U.S Open. The tennis player sported the look after getting backlash from the tennis community for her Black Panther inspired catsuit outfit at the French Open. Last week, the French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli banned the catsuit from ever making a return again.
“I think we sometimes went too far,” Guidicelli told Tennis Magazine, “The combination of Serena this year, for example, it will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game.”
Respecting the game seems to be a basis for the tennis community on the insistent commentary surrounding William’s outfits, hairstyles, and looks in general. Ever since its conception, the game of tennis has prided itself on its pageantry, and still harbors an old world mind set of clean white uniforms and gender norms. This attitude, held in such high esteem, allows people to attack not just Williams, but her sister Venus and any other women who decide to bend the very tight gender normative rules.
The Williams sisters are no strangers to the public prejudices. Throughout their entire careers, the were often referred to in the media as “savage”, “pummeling”, and “overpowering”, which are often terms used for describing animals. When they were teens, they were once scrutinized at a competition for wearing beads in their hair.
Not only did they face scrutiny from the public and spectators, but from their competitors as well. Anna Kournikova one time mentioning her hatred for muscles, and how she didn’t want to be as “masculine” as the sisters. And Chris Evert once said that their “athletic ability and raw aggression make it hard for the women who aren’t Amazons to compete with them.”
But in the situation regarding the catsuit, Serena Williams had a larger purpose for wearing it than to rustle the feathers of some tennis big wigs. She wore it for health reasons. After giving birth to her daughter, Williams has suffered from blood clots. The point of her wearing the catsuit was to have her legs covered in order to keep up the blood flow.
The tennis player said at a conference that she has since found other methods to help with her blood clots, which allowed her to rock the tutu we all have come to know and love. Though her fans seem to be up and arms about the ban on the catsuit, Williams herself seems to just be OK with it. Even making light of the situation saying, “When it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender” after someone asked her if she’d ever consider wearing it again.