how Serena Williams broke the dress codes of a corseted sport


The American, whose fortune is estimated by Forbes at 260 million euros, making her the richest sportswoman of all time, also expressed her passion for fashion on the courts, through her outfits. And what many perceived as extravagance did not bring him only praise. In fact, the American has often received mocking, sometimes overtly sexist remarks from journalists or senior tennis dignitaries. Not enough to make her give up original, colorful, openwork or close-fitting pieces.

If the wearing of the skirt on the courts is a very resistant use, no point of the WTA rules explicitly obliges it. The only requirement: wear « appropriate » clothing.

The Combination of Discord

For Roland-Garros 2018, Serena Williams chose a tight-fitting black full suit, in reference to the outfits of the fighters of « Wakanda », the fictional country in which the Marvel blockbuster « Black Panther » takes place. “I feel like a warrior in there, a warrior-princess,” Williams said then.

His outfit is not to the taste of Bernard Giudicelli, then president of the French Tennis Federation. “I think we sometimes went too far. Serena’s jumpsuit this year, for example, will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place. “An outing that makes the French Alizé Cornet react. “There are still people like the president of my Federation who live in another time […] I find this extremely shocking. »

The former president of the FFT from 2009 to 2017, Jean Gachassin, says he is « stunned » by these « unwelcome » remarks and calls for « above all not to judge unilaterally the beauty or not of an outfit ». Many have allowed themselves to do so, during the 27-year career of Serena Williams.

Target of reviews

When she won her second US Open in 2002, in a short, tight black suit, the player was the victim of the sarcasm of some journalists at a press conference. “Nice outfit. Where are the fins, mask and snorkel that go with it? “, we ask him. « It’s not a wetsuit, » Williams replies. « It’s made of Lycra […] If you don’t have a good figure, it’s not the best outfit to wear, ”she says.

The American also entered the court in leather boots at Flushing Meadows, where she performed in a tutu. In Australia, at the Melbourne Grand Slam, she tries on an “openwork” skirt that she herself would have considered “inappropriate” if it had been shorter. Asymmetrical sets, too, including another, more colorful full-body suit at the 2021 Australian Open. With only one leg covered, Williams says she wants to pay homage to sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner, who wore a legging on the right side.

“Game, set and glam”

She allows herself another coup at Wimbledon, the most conservative of tournaments with its mandatory white rule. The American arrives on the court in a trench coat and splits with a witticism: “It may not repel the rain, but we can always hope. The public appreciates, the Daily Express salutes: « Game, set and glam’, Miss Williams ».

In New York, for her last dance, Serena dressed in black, but to better sparkle one last time: on her shoes, in addition to the famous diamond-encrusted comma, the laces were topped with small jewels from her own brand,  » hand-set with 400 black ceramic diamonds” featuring the words “QUEEN” and “MAMA”.

At the 2022 US Open, Serena Williams' shoelaces were topped with jewelry hand-set with 400 black ceramic diamonds.


At the 2022 US Open, Serena Williams’ shoelaces were topped with jewelry hand-set with 400 black ceramic diamonds.

KENA BETANCUR/AFP

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