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August 27, 2018

Serena Williams responds to criticism surrounding French Open 'catsuit' issue

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A new ruling has banned Serena Williams from wearing a catsuit again at the French Open. The decision was made after the French Tennis Federation deemed the suit disrespectful of the sport. Serena has issued a response along with others on Twitter who came to her defense.

Serena Williams will no longer be allowed to wear a catsuit at the French Open. This decision was made by the president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, who has decided to impose a dress code on the tournament, believing Serena’s catsuit may have gone too far. 

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In May, Serena surprised the world by debuting a black catsuit at the French Open. Of the skin-tight Nike suit which immediately went viral, Serena said she wore it so she would feel like a superhero. 

“I’m always living in a fantasy world.  I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”

She added that as much as it was a “fun suit,” she wore it for health reasons. It helps prevent her from developing blood clots which she has a history of. Serena almost died giving birth to her daughter last year due to a pulmonary embolism. 

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Now it seems Serena will have to retire her revolutionary look. In Giudicelli’s opinion, such uniform doesn’t show respect for the game. During his recent interview with Tennis Magazine, he said,

“It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.”

To regulate future uniforms, Giudicelli has also requested for an advanced look at all players’ uniforms created by manufacturers for approval.

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The sport that she is, Serena took Giudicelli’s banning of her catsuit in stride. She seemed unbothered by the decision when she spoke about it at a press conference on Saturday ahead of the U.S. Open. She said,

“...obviously, the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do.”

She added,

“I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be okay with it. So I think it’s fine. The president of the French Federation, he’s been really amazing. He’s been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship.”

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Meanwhile, Andy Roddick thought the new ruling was “dumb.” He tweeted his dismay by saying “it’d be nice if the sport got out of its own way.”

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Sportswear giant Nike also expressed its support to Serena by tweeting, 

“You can take the superhero out of her costume.  But you can never take away her superpowers.”

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Others on Twitter defended Serena from a ruling that they believe is racist and sexist. They cited a catsuit Anne White wore in 1985 which didn’t draw any flak then. They also said it didn’t make any sense that Serena’s catsuit wouldn’t be allowed when short skirts revealing butt cheeks were acceptable. 

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As for Serena, she couldn’t care less if she never dons a catsuit again for the simple reason that,

“When it comes to fashion, you don’t want to be a repeat offender.”

Meanwhile, Serena’s fashion choices may be limited on the tennis court, but she certainly gets a free hand when it comes to dressing her daughter Olympia for her tennis matches. In June, the athlete who just launched her own fashion line in May shared a photo of her 11-month-old looking chic in a pink dress and with her own little tennis racket bag. Olympia was geared up to watch her mother’s match at Wimbledon and she was definitely fashionably ready. 

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