CULTURE

The French Open Won’t Let Serena Williams Wear Her Black Panther–Inspired Bodysuit

Unbelievably, they are claiming it’s a sign of disrespect?


Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images

Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player alive, and arguably of all time. Serena Williams is a champion, an icon, an inspiration. Serena Williams is, to many, the face of professional tennis. Serena Williams is a scandal-free queen who has earned the right to play the game naked if she wants to. And now some French guy is saying that she can’t wear the black catsuit that Nike designed specifically for her to prevent life-threatening blood clots?

Last night, the Associated Press reported that Bernard Giudicelli, president of the French Tennis Federation, is planning to impose new uniform rules on players for the French Open (a tournament that Williams has won not once, not twice, but thrice), saying, “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.” Which would perhaps be understandable if he’d added that the organization will work with athletes to make sure that everyone is comfortable and safe. But that is not what he said. Instead, Giudicelli singled out the black catsuit Williams wore at the 2018 French Open and declared, “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.”

So, apparently a chic, form-fitting all-black ensemble is…disrespectful to a tournament held in Paris, land of a thousand all-black ensembles? And it’s not okay for a tennis player to wear…a garment that helps her play tennis? Williams has suffered for years from blood clots. They’ve taken her out of the game, and when she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, a pulmonary embolism nearly took her life. The Nike-made suit wasn’t just a nod to Black Panther (although the movie did partly inspire its creation), it was also a compression suit that helped Williams’s circulation.

And by the way, Williams knows whereof she speaks when she talks about her match outfits. Two years ago, she even launched her own bra line because there was only one brand in the world that made sports bras that kept her chest secure during matches. She and her team are a lot more thoughtful about these matters than a poorly judged comment with sexist, racist overtones from an administrator.

Related: Serena Williams Reveals Her New Fashion Line, and How Being a Mom Has Changed Her Style

All the Celebrities, Socialites, and Royals Spotted at Wimbledon

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex attend day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 14, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Emma Watson and Luke Evans attend the men’s singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Tom Holland and his father Dominic Holland attend the men’s singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Hannah Bagshawe and Eddie Redmayne attend the Men’s Singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Letitia Wright attends the men’s singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Thandie Newton attends day twelve of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge attend the men’s singles final on day thirteen of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 15, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Pierce Brosnan and his son, Dylan Brosnan, attend day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Anna Wintour attends day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Oliver Cheshire and Pixie Lott attend day nine of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 11, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Michael McIntyre attends day eleven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Drake attends day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Justin Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel attend day eight of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Lara Stone and Richard Grieveson attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Michelle Dockery attends day eight of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 10, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Lottie Moss and Tina Stinnes attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Leomie Anderson, Maya Jama and Jack Freud attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Cara McConnell and Olivia Munn attend day five of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 6, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Stella McCartney and her husband Alasdhair Willis attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Anya Taylor-Joy attends day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Alexa Chung, Poppy Delevingne and her husband James Cook attend day seven of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 9, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

Pippa Middleton and brother, James, attend day four of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 5, 2018 in London, England. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Ellie Goulding scored a royal box seat on the first day of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships on July 2, 2018.

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Alexis Ohanian cheers on his wife, Serena Williams, from the sidelines at Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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Scarlett Moffatt sipped a cold beverage from the stands at Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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Myleene Klass and Simon Motson snapped some photos at Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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Mirka Federer claps for her husband, Roger Federer, as he made his return to Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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Will Poulter, Laura Carmichael and Michael Fox get silly in the stands at Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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Joely Richardson and Tess Daly cheered from the royal box at Wimbledon on July 3, 2018.

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Game of ThronesNatalie Dormer attends the first day of Wimbledon on July 2, 2018.

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