Serena Williams’ ‘Black Panther’ Catsuit Banned by French Open

Sloane Stephens celebrates winning a point against Evgeniya Rodina of Russia during the first round of the U.S. Open tennis tournament

Yesterday, the French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli, went viral after banning Serena Williams' catsuit from the French Open.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion said in a pretournament news conference at the US Open that part of the reason she wore the catsuit at the French Open - an outfit she dedicated to mothers returning from "tough pregnancy" - was to help with her long-standing issue of blood clots.

The French Open organisers accused Williams of disrespecting the game by wearing the alternative outfit during matches, although few have quite been able to understand the logic behind such a comment. "One must respect the game and place".

The suit also carried medical benefits: it was reportedly engineered to prevent blood clots from forming while she competed.

Williams's next Grand Slam is the U.S. Open, and the New York Times reminds us of all the fashion-forward looks she's unveiled at Flushing Meadows: "First there was the shorts unitard she wore in 2002, the denim skirt with knee-high sneakers in 2004, and then the animal prints she introduced in 2014". A new spot for Nike from Wieden & Kennedy seamlessly merges archival footage of a young Williams and her father on those courts with scenes of the adult Williams in action. "I always wanted to be a super-hero, and it's kind of my way of being a super-hero", she observed of the outfit. After all, Williams had said that while the catsuit made her feel like a "queen from Wakanda", it also had an important health application, helping her control her circulation following a hard childbirth last September.

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"I had a lot of problems with [blood clots] - I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months", Williams explained. And if you're not careful, something as simple as what people wear to work can have a major impact on your results.

"It definitely has little functionality to it", she said of the catsuit. "You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers".

"I wear tights that keep everything going with my blood", Williams said.

The six-time US Open champion made it clear that the catsuit won't make a return appearance in NY when the year's final Grand Slam starts on Monday.

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