Not all heroes wear capes, some wear a ‘Serena-tard’. Tennis great Serena Williams coined that phrase at the 2019 Australian Open after she showed up to win her match in a green romper by Nike and a pair of fishnet tights — yes, on the court. The look wasn’t just a statement; it was a kiss-off to French Officials who banned catsuits after Williams wore a Black Panther-inspired one to the 2018 French Open. Williams, of course, followed that up with a tutu and a pair of sneakers that fittingly said “Queen,” designed by Virgil Abloh for the court. Her latest look sends as powerful of a message.
After Williams emerged victorious from her Australian Open match — which was her first time at the event since she played pregnant with her first child, Alexia Olympia, last year — she explained the green romper as a message of solidarity for mothers. “You know, I took a year off, and, you know, just get back with still trying to get 12 months under my belt of playing, actually,” she said in a press conference. “We design really far in advance at Nike. I knew that I have been working really, really hard in the offseason to be incredibly fit and incredibly ready. I wanted to be fit. I came back. Nike always wants to make an incredibly strong, powerful statement for mums that are trying to get back and get fit. That was basically it for me.”
Her husband Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian didn’t hold back his love of the ‘Serena-tard.’ When one fan posted a photo of Williams in the romper with the caption, “French Open: ‘We’re banning the catsuit’, Serena Williams: ‘Just cut off the legs’,” he replied, “? I’m here for the romper.”
When the French Open banned the catsuit, the federation president explained the decision to much criticism as “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.” Though, the Women’s Tennis Association did later clarify that leggings and “mid-length” compression shorts could be worn with or without a skirt.
Nike, who made the catsuit, replied with an iconic photo of Williams in it and the caption, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers. #justdoit.”
This time, though, it’s Williams giving the mic drop.