Serena Williams is not done expressing her personal style on the court.
The 23-time Grand Slam winner, 36, returned to the US open on Monday in an eye-catching one-shoulder dress with a tulle tutu — just three days after French Open officials decided to bar her from wearing her iconic black catsuit.
Williams, who opened the night session on Arthur Ashe and defeated Poland’s Magda Linette, made her entrance in a leather-style jacket over the off-the-shoulder black dress.
Fashion: Serena Williams returned to the US open on Monday in an eye-catching one-shoulder dress with a tulle tutu
Purpose: The 23-time Grand Slam winner wore fishnet compression tights designed to help with her circulation and avoid blood clots
She also wore fishnet compression tights designed to help with her circulation and avoid blood clots.
‘It’s easy to play in, kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free,’ she said of her outfit. ‘The tutu is easy to play in because I practiced in it before. That was fun.’
Her new power outfit designed by Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike.
The designs created by Abloh for Williams also include a white version of the dress, custom NikeCourt Flare sneakers, and a jacket for her to wear off the court.
Last week, the French Tennis Federation drew outrage as its president Bernard Giudicelli claimed Williams’ catsuit didn’t show ‘respect’ to tennis nor the Roland Garros Stadium, where the French Open is held.
Giudicelli announced that the tournament, which Williams has won three times, is introducing a dress code to regulate players’ uniforms because ‘I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far’.
Loving it: ‘It’s easy to play in, kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free,’ she said of her outfit
Skirt: Williams said she has practiced playing in the tutu before and it’s now easy to play with
Designer: Her new power outfit designed by Louis Vuitton menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh in collaboration with Nike
Wardrobe: The designs created by Abloh for Williams also include a white version of the dress, custom NikeCourt Flare sneakers, and a jacket for her to wear off the court
He said Roland Garros’ new rules won’t be as strict as Wimbledon’s, which require that players wear white, but will ‘impose certain limits’.
Williams had previously explained that she wore the catsuit partly for health reasons. The aim of the skintight suit was to protect her due to past bouts with blood clots.
The champion gave birth on September 1 2017, then dealt with complications related to a pulmonary embolism — and the catsuit was meant to help with her circulation.
With the outfit, Williams also wanted to send about self-worth and feeling powerful as she returned to the courts after giving birth.
‘It feels like this suit represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves,’ she said in May. ‘I definitely feel like it is an opportunity for me to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids.’
The outfit called to mind Williams’ black ‘catsuit’ that she wore at the 2002 U.S. Open. Williams referred to what she wore at the French Open as the ‘catsuit — the new version, 2.0’.
‘I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit,’ she said, referring to the fictional nation in the film Black Panther.
Banned: Last week, the French Tennis Federation drew outrage as its president Bernard Giudicelli claimed Williams’ catsuit (pictured in May) didn’t show ‘respect’
Williams has since explained that she’s not worried about a new dress code at the French Open, and said she no longer needs the full-length catsuit to protect her health.
Besides, for someone with Williams’ style, going back to the same look would be a fashion faux pas.
‘When it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender,’ she said on Saturday.
Williams said she had a strong relationship with the federation and had spoken with Giudicelli on Friday.
‘I think that obviously the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do,’ she said. ‘I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be OK with it. So I think it’s fine.’
Williams said Saturday she no longer needs to wear the full-length leggings because she found that compression tights also work to keep her blood circulating. She wore tights at Wimbledon, when she made it to the final.
Though Williams shrugged it off, the French Open decision drew strong reaction from inside and outside of tennis. Former U.S. star Andy Roddick tweeted that the decision was ‘so dumb and shortsighted it hurts,’ adding that ‘Sometimes it’d be nice if the sport got out of its own way’.
Message: Nike took Williams’ side by tweeting a photo of her in the catsuit and writing: ‘You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers’
Voice: Billie Jean King has spoken out against the French Tennis Federation’s decision to ban Serena Williams’ catsuit
Billie Jean King also took to Twitter earlier to bash the French Open’s decision, writing: ‘The policing of women’s bodies must end.
‘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.’
On Twitter, many people took to the platform to blast the ‘terrible’ and ‘racist’ move.
‘Serena Williams, who wore an outfit specifically designed to help prevent blood clots because she almost *died* after giving birth, won’t be able to wear her catsuit again at the French Open because the tournament chief… doesn’t like it,’ one Twitter user wrote. ‘That’s literally the only reason.’
‘Please explain how this catsuit is disrespectful?’ another person asked. ‘Sit down dude.’
Nike has also sided with the champion, tweeting an image of Williams wearing the catsuit during the French Open with the caption: ‘You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.’