Serena Williams wears the specially-designed bodysuit to prevent blood clots
Serena Williams — athlete, mother, role model, inspiration, and reigning G.O.A.T. — has been told she can’t wear her black compression bodysuit during future French Opens. Because even if you’re the world’s greatest athlete, your wardrobe is still apparently “too much of a distraction.” When you have a vagina, that is.
French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli says the French Open will be instituting a dress code for future tournaments — because apparently, he didn’t like what Williams wore last time. “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far,” he told the magazine, according to the Associated Press. “One must respect the game and the place.”
Right, of course. Because allowing female tennis players to wear actual athletic gear they feel comfortable and confident in is just taking things “too far.” While I’m all for any athlete wearing whatever the hell they want to, let’s not pretend that tennis uniform standards for women aren’t, like, incredibly “Country Club Chic” and somewhat out of place in 2018. Also? “Respect” is reciprocal, pal. And I can’t think of anyone who’s respected their passion and their sport more than Serena Williams has for years.
Furthermore, Williams has publicly discussed why her bodysuit is so important to her to wear. Earlier this spring, she candidly told reporters the suit was designed to help prevent blood clots — an ongoing medical issue she still struggles with after she nearly died giving birth to her daughter last year. “I had a lot of problems with my blood clots,” she said. “God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the last 12 months.” Her suit was created with the intention of keeping her blood circulating while allowing her full functionality on the court.
Do you hear that, Men Of The Tennis World And Beyond? Blood clots. Blood clots. You’re telling me the fiercest athlete your sport has ever seen can’t wear a specially designed athletic bodysuit that helps keep her safe from a near-fatality because…what? White pleats? Get your shit together, French Open.
Once this decision hit the news cycle, people everywhere were quick to weigh in. And honestly, this b.s. decision deserves every bit of the storm.
The game seems quite content to be played no matter what women wear. Perhaps this man should focus on his own fashion choices and respect the GOAT's rights to wear whatever the hell she pleases. #getoffhercourt https://t.co/sS7QcyJp3y
— shonda rhimes (@shondarhimes) August 24, 2018
What incentive would Serena Williams, GOAT, have at this point in her career to play the French Open when the tournament is being blatantly disrespectful to her?
— roxane gay (@rgay) August 24, 2018
Serena Williams, who wore an outfit specifically designed to help prevent blood clots because she almost *died* after giving birth, won't be able to wear her catsuit again at the French Open because the tournament chief…doesn't like it.
That's literally the only reason. https://t.co/TiLo8JcSJj
— Eunice Chantilly's tacky barrette. (@RafiDAngelo) August 24, 2018
Serena Williams is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to women’s tennis. She should be able to play in nothing body paint and Mickey Mouse ears if she wants.
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) August 24, 2018
Having had multiple pulmonary embolisms, Serena Williams is not allowed to use a specially designed black catsuit that helps prevents blood clots from developing in the legs. Because the French Open doesn’t like how it looks. That’s racist, sexist, and dangerous.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) August 24, 2018
Williams has yet to respond to the new dress code “rule.” But I’m holding out hope the public outcry is enough to snap some sense into French Open officials before next year. Because it’s just wrong, wrong, wrong. Especially considering how much she loves it.
“I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of queen from Wakanda maybe,” she told The Guardian. “I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s my way of being a superhero.”