Arguably no athlete has faced as much scrutiny for what they wear during gameplay than tennis pro and the true GOAT of the sport, Serena Williams. Williams has weathered more than her unfair share of insensitive and racist critiques about her tennis outfits and body in the past. After years of unwarranted outfit critiques, which culminated in an unfair and unjustified ban on the blood clot-preventing catsuit she wanted to wear at the 2018 French Open, Williams debuted an outfit at the 2019 French Open that doubled as a supreme and necessary clapback.
Williams made a serious statement when she stepped onto the court at the 2019 French Open to face off against Russian opponent Vitalia Diatchenko on Monday. Fashion designer Virgil Abloh seemed to have crafted another stunning piece for Williams to play in, crafting a black-and-white two-piece with a jacket to match. In the white stripes of the jacket, Abloh included the French words for “champion,” “queen,” “mother” and “goddess” — an obvious bit of shade at the French Tennis Federation’s 2018 decision to introduce a new dress code that immediately impacted Williams’ choice to wear a stylish and actually helpful Abloh-designed catsuit during gameplay.
Of course, the outfit also serves to remind all you haters that Williams can’t be contained within one label; instead, she contains multitudes. She is more than just a champion or a queen or a mother or a goddess. She is all things at all times and you best not forget it.
Last year, the French Open banned a catsuit Serena Williams wore to help with post-birth blood clots.
This year, she showed up in an outfit with the French words for:
Goddess 🎾 pic.twitter.com/XX1iX4SxS0
— AJ+ (@ajplus) May 27, 2019
Before the match, Williams previewed the more intricate and dramatic version of her on-court outfit in a series of black-and-white photos taken with Abloh. Both versions of the outfit, in our humble opinion, are stunning.
Viewers of the match and fans of Williams’ also took notice of her outfit, responding positively to the message Williams was sending with her clothing.
— Mbulazi (@MpiloKhumalo_) May 27, 2019
— Blanche NeverHo (@Black_Daria1) May 27, 2019
— Helga Gokah (@GokahHelga) May 27, 2019
Not that it’s anyone’s business but for the record: Williams has never dressed inappropriately for her job. She has always stayed fashionable and comfortable, celebrating and honoring her athletic body with clothes that make her look and feel good while absolutely dominating on the court. Williams’ response to all of the haters through the medium upon which they critiqued her was a genius move — and we hope she has more outfit clapbacks planned in the near future.