Last year, Serena Williams made her post-pregnancy return to tennis in a Nike catsuit that was controversially "banned" from the French Open. This weekend, she returned to the tournament in another statement-making outfit—this one, perhaps, a subtle clapback at critics of her previous look.
The tennis champion hit the courts in Paris in a Virgil Abloh-designed Nike x Off-White ensemble. Sending a powerful message, the two-piece black and white set was emblazoned with the words "Mother," "Goddess," "Queen," and "Champion" in both French and English.
Serena debuted the look for her first round match against Russian tennis player Vitalia Diatchenko, which she won. This is the second time Abloh designed a performance look for the athlete to wear to a match—she previously wore an Off-White x Nike tutu dress to the U.S. Open last year.
The statement-making jacket comes a year after Williams was criticized for wearing a full-length bodysuit which she dedicated to “all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy.” The full body compression garment was designed to help prevent blood clots—an issue Williams suffered from in the past that led to a near-death experience during the birth of her daughter.
But despite the outfit's potential life-saving functionality, the French Open implemented a stricter dress code right after Williams wore it. Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, told Tennis magazine that Serena's catsuit was specifically a problem. “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” he said. “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.”
At the time, the tennis champion didn't seem phased by the French Open's decision to implement a new dress code, and her latest look is just another reminder she's still the G.O.A.T.—despite what any of her outfit critics have to say.
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