Serena Williams hits tennis court in tutu after catsuit ban at French Open

Published 30.08.2018 00:00
Updated 30.08.2018 17:18
Serena Williams of the US runs to hit a return during Day 3 of the 2018 U.S. Open Women's Singles match in New York on August 29, 2018. (AFP Photo)
Serena Williams of the US runs to hit a return during Day 3 of the 2018 U.S. Open Women's Singles match in New York on August 29, 2018. (AFP Photo)

It's all about the tutu for Serena Williams at the U.S. Open.

Just days after French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli said her black catsuit with clot-preventing compression tights "will no longer be accepted," Williams chose a one-armed black tutu-style dress by Off-White's Virgil Abloh to take on Magda Linette at the Open. She won.

Perhaps her sparkly shoes emblazoned with her name and "queen" also helped.

On Wednesday night, playing against Carina Witthoeft, Williams was in another tutu dress that's part of her new collaboration with Nike and Abloh, who is also men's artistic director for Louis Vuitton. Anna Wintour looked pleased as she watched Williams beat Witthoeft.

The Queen Collection is inspired by Williams' love of dance. She paired the black look with a leather biker jacket. The dresses have sheer panels on one shoulder and long sleeves on the other. Williams tugged hard on the sleeve as her Wednesday match began.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner wore compression fishnets with her tutu looks to guard against blood clots, a problem she battled soon after giving birth last September.

Retail, prices range from $130 to $900 for various pieces in the new collab.

Serena's decision to wear a tutu come sin the wake of another controversy, a shirt-change sexism row which engulfed the U.S. Open on Wednesday.

28-year-old Alize Cornet was handed a code violation for "unsportsmanlike conduct" when she removed her shirt on court after realising she had put it on back-to-front while in the locker room during a 10-minute heat break in her first round defeat against Sweden's Johanna Larsson on Tuesday.

However, there was a storm of criticism for umpire Christian Rask's decision while male players remain free to change shirts on court.

The United States Tennis Association apologised for the incident on Wednesday.

"All players can change their shirts when sitting in the player chair. This is not considered a code violation," said organisers.

"We regret that a code violation was assessed to Ms. Cornet yesterday. We have clarified the policy to ensure this will not happen moving forward. Fortunately, she was only assessed a warning with no further penalty or fine."

The tournament was blasted for double standards over the incident, especially as it came just days after the French Open said it would ban Williams from wearing her 'Black Panther' catsuit again at Roland Garros.

Cornet, however, said she was happpy to accept the apology but called French tennis federation (FFT) president Bernard Giudicelli's ban on Williams' catsuit "10,000 worse" and genuinely worthy of being deemed "sexist".

"The president of my federation lives in another time and can still do these kind of comments. They are totally shocking for me," she said.

"What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena's cat suit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me on the court yesterday, because he's the president of the French federation and because he doesn't have to do that."

Giudicelli said that there will be "certain limits" placed on clothing worn at the 2019 French Open.

"You have to respect the game and the place," said Giudicelli who made a point of describing Williams's outfit in Paris this year as "unacceptable".

Former world number one and two-timer major winner Victoria Azarenka said she was pleased the USTA had apologised.

But she believes there remain serious issues over how men and women are treated on tour.

"If I would say my true feelings, it would be bleeped out, because it was ridiculous. It wasn't anything disrespectful," said the Belarusian.

"Things and issues like this need to stop at the beginning. It cannot develop anymore. It's enough. You know, the things with the cat suit, I personally don't understand it. No idea what it means disrespecting the game playing in the cat suit?

"There is always a double standard for men and women."

Many on social media were quick to point out that just a few hours after the Cornet incident, Wimbledon champion and two-time U.S. Open winner Novak Djokovic sat courtside on Arthur Ashe Stadium with his shirt removed and with an ice towel draped around his shoulders.

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