The French Tennis Federation announced that they’re implementing new rules regarding players’ uniforms for the 2019 French Open. President Bernard Guidicelli told Tennis Magazine that “sometimes we’ve gone too far,” referring to players’ attire.
Attire will now be subject to a strict dress code, and unfortunately, Serena Williams’ sleek catsuit, which caused a major sensation at this year’s French Open, would no longer be accepted.
“Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted,” Guidicelli said. “You have to respect the game and place.”
The idea that Williams’ choice of clothing insinuates that she doesn’t respect the game of tennis is ridiculous and utterly embarrassing.
In May, Williams’ told reporters the Nike-designed suit, inspired by Marvel’s “Black Panther”, was created to help prevent blood clots, a health issue that nearly ended her life following the birth of her daughter last September.
“I’ve had a lot of problems with my blood clots. God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the past 12 months,” Williams said at the May news conference. “I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going.”
Williams is in fact not the first woman to wear a catsuit at a match.
In 1985, Anne White of the U.S. caused a crucial tabloid sensation at Wimbledon when she played her first round in a white catsuit.
This is a serious case of misogynoir — misogyny specifically against black women — and regrettably not the first time the top-earning female athlete in the world has been subject to unfair treatment. According to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, the 23-time Grand Slam winner has been tested five times this year alone while other U.S. female tennis stars such as Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys have only been tested once each in 2018.
“…and it’s that time of the day to get ‘randomly’ drug tested and only test Serena. Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination? I think so,” Williams tweeted.
Along with this, Williams’ has been hit with constant attacks on her body and appearance from both her opponents and fans of the game since the start of her career.
Williams’ is the greatest thing to happen to women’s tennis and it is infuriating to see the lack of respect the French Tennis Federation has for her. She’s done nothing but respect the game and she is almost always singled out in her forte.
It’s not William’s job to make the Federation feel comfortable. It’s her job to play the sport.
She came back after serious, and highly publicized, health complications stemming from pregnancy to play the sport she loves. It’s a shame that Guidicelli even suggests that she is being disrespectful to tennis.
The greatest athlete of all time has her specially designed catsuit regulated during the French Open because it’s necessary to “respect the game.”
Serena Williams is the game.
Update: Williams downplayed a potential breach in saying, “I’m sure we would come to an understanding and everything will be okay. Yeah, so it wouldn’t be a big deal.” Finals begin on Monday, Sept. 3.
Nike issued their own statement via Twitter following the ban: “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers. #justdoit.”