When Serena Williams entered Arthur Ashe Stadium on Monday night, fans tuned in from across the world to see the “greatest of all time” enter the court for what will likely be her last tournament as a professional tennis player, yes, but they also wanted to see what she was wearing. Throughout her career, Williams has pushed boundaries in the sport of tennis in more ways than one, and fashion has been as important of a tool in doing so as her racquet. So, when Williams stepped out in a black, sparkling dress, rife with symbolism, and the camera panned to her almost-five-year-old daughter wearing a matching look, it just felt right.
Williams worked with Nike to design her latest ensemble, which features long, sheer sleeves and a six-layered skirt (a layer for every US Open she has won). The bodice of the dress is covered in crystals shaped into stars, “inspired by the night sky above center court in Flushing, NY,” according to Nike. On her feet were matching NikeCourt Flare 2s, designed in collaboration with her jewelry brand, with charms reading “queen” and “mama” on the front of each shoe.
But to fully appreciate the style moment, one would have to turn their attention to off the court as well, where William’s daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. (known as Olympia) was sitting with her father and aunt, Isha Price, in the front row. Olympia, who turns five on Thursday, matched her mom in a mini version of the performance dress, complete with her own set of crystallized sneakers. Most notably, however, was Olympia’s hair, done in braids and beads, a style forever linked with Serena and Venus Williams’ rise in the tennis world in the ‘90s and worn by Serena when she won her first US Open in 1999.
“It was either her wear beads or me,” Williams said in a news conference following the match. “I wanted to do it but I just didn’t have the time.” According to Williams, Olympia asks to wear the beads often. Last year, she wore them in her bangs for the premiere of King Richard at AFI Fest, where she once again matched her mother in David Koma. “I was so happy when she had them on, it’s perfect on her,” Williams said.
The matching mother-daughter moment is also notable considering that Williams’s retirement is based her commitment to family. In her essay for Vogue’s September issue, Willliams speaks on the topic, about Olympia’s desire to be a big sister and Williams’ own desire to grow her family. “I definitely don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete,” she says. “I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out.”
And while some are upset about the end of William’s tennis era, Olympia is excited, much to her mother’s chagrin. “Olympia doesn’t like when I play tennis,” she told Time. “That kind of makes me sad...and brings anxiety to my heart.” In fact, when she told Olympia about her plan to retire, Olympia responded with “a fist-pumping, ‘Yes!’”
Despite that, Olympia was on the sidelines on Monday night, matching her mother in clothing and energy, cheering on Williams and later posing with her on the court. Her beads flying around in the air, just as her mother’s used to do.