Serena Williams is a queen and, in case anyone forgets that fact, she wore a special reminder when attending this year’s French Open. The occasion marked her first return since last year’s event, when Williams was singled out by French Open officials and banned from wearing any future catsuits—a silhouette she had formerly chosen based on its ability to prevent blood clots, a condition she developed after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia. This year Williams didn’t wear a catsuit, but she did wear an outfit that sent a very specific message to officials and anyone else.
Williams showed up to her first match of the 2019 French Open in a custom creation by Off-White’s Virgil Abloh that was covered in words like “Mother,” “Champion,” “Queen,” and “Goddess.” The French officials couldn’t have missed it, either, as those words were written out in their native language.
Williams—who, naturally, won her match against Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko—later explained the outfit, telling the Tennis Channel, “It has words in it in French. It talks about me being a mom and me being a queen, as all women are. A champion. It’s positive reinforcement for me, and I kind of love that.”
She also joked about it, telling AP News, “It is a lot to carry, but so is being Serena Williams.”
“[The words on the jacket] are things that mean a lot to me and reminders for me and for everyone that wants to wear it,” she added. “Just remind everyone that they can be champions and are queens. So I love that about it.”
Twitter had a lot to say about the moment, too.
No doubt French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli, who spoke out against Williams’ now-iconic catsuit, saying, “One must respect the game and the place,” received the message. Then again, Giudicelli has likely been following along with Williams’s on-court fashion moments since her catsuit ban. Most notably, that included a Nike romper Williams wore back in January to the 2019 Australian Open, which the brand later shared a photo of, adding, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.” That sentiment rang true once again today when Williams emerged victorious at the French Open.