Serena Williams excels at expressing herself both on and off the court, and the tennis legend is being praised for rocking a special, empowering warm-up jacket for the first round of the 2019 French Open – one year after her catsuit sparked controversy at the same match.
On Monday, Williams arrived at the opening Roland Garros match a black-and-white striped warmup jacket with the words “champion,” “queen,” “goddess” and “mother” stamped on the design. The 23-time Grand Slam winner removed the garment before game time and played in a complimentary two-piece outfit, all designed by Virgil Abloh for Nike.
“It is a lot to carry, but so is being Serena Williams,” the 37-year-old said.
The tennis pro made her Grand Slam return in Paris last year after skipping five majors following the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia, now age 1.
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“[The jacket] talks about me being a mom and me being a queen, as all women are. A champion,” Williams mused after her victorious first round match, as per Business Insider. “It’s positive reinforcement for me, and I kind of love that.”
In reply, fans gushed on social media that Williams’ “fierce” and “amazing” look gave them “all the feels.”
“Sis was playing no games with the folks over at the French Open,” one Twitter user joked.
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Last year, French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli announced that designs similar to the skin-tight black catsuit (with blood clot-preventing compression tights) that Williams sported for the elite competition would be banned in the future, as contenders “must respect the game and the place,” Fox Sports reported.
Though contested by others, Williams took the message in stride, and continues to win in style today.
The tennis pro advanced to the third round of the French Open on May 30.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.