French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli has imposed a ban on Serena Williams’s Black Panther-inspired catsuit, saying she needs to respect the game.
Serena, who made a comeback from her maternity leave with the French Open last May, said that the suit helps her prevent blood clots, an issue which almost threatened her life during daughter Alexis Olympia’s birth.
In an interview with Tennis Magazine, Giudicelli talked about the new dress code regulations. He said, “It (Serena’s catsuit) will not be tolerated. One must respect the game and the place.”
He even justified his bizarre decision to ban the suit by saying, “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far”.
In an earlier interview, Williams had shared the medical reasons behind wearing the catsuit. She said,
“I had a lot of problems with my blood clots. God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the last 12 months. I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of queen from Wakanda maybe. I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s my way of being a superhero,”
Post Giudicelli’s catsuit remarks, Twitterati came in majority to back Serena and slam the president’s inconsiderate remarks. While a few citied previous instances where players had worn bodysuits, some pointed this out as ‘another case of racism disguised as a “dress code”.
Here are a few tweets:
For the record, Serena Williams wasn’t the first woman to wear a catsuit at a Grand Slam. Anne White did it in 1985 at the US Open. They knew this was a possibility but didn’t ban it until Serena did it for MEDICAL REASONS. pic.twitter.com/0GyDbKnhEO
— Mizzly (@mizzlywizz) August 24, 2018
so Serena Williams, the greatest tennis player of all time, can’t wear a black bodysuit that was specially made to prevent blood clotting due to post-birth health complications during the French Open because she “needs to respect the game?”
Serena Williams IS the game.
— Brian Gay (@brian2596) August 24, 2018
Another case of racism disguised as a “dress code”.
Bernard Giudicelli, head of the French Tennis Federation French Open, said Serena Williams catsuit was inappropriate. But white female tennis players are at the French Open with their whole ass out, and that’s ok pic.twitter.com/xYqnjHofJo
— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) August 24, 2018
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
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
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
Anne White wore a catsuit in 1985.
Serena Williams is not allowed to wear one in 2019. pic.twitter.com/maSMckXo26
— Simon Hedlin (@simonhedlin) August 25, 2018
— Elizabeth Banks (@ElizabethBanks) August 24, 2018
How many times does Serena Williams have to be disrespected? It’s in the language used to describe her or her health-designed bodysuit they just condemned. Why this arbitrary constant picking at an athlete that has given so much to the game of tennis w grace & dominance? SMH
— Rosalyn Gold-Onwude (@ROSGO21) 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
The 36-year-old wore the catsuit during her first round win of French Open 2018 against Czech Republic player Kristyna Pliskova,
“I’ve been wearing pants a lot in general when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going. It’s a fun suit, but it’s also functional so I can play without any problems,” she added.
The legend with 23 grand slams under her belt, including three in French Open, is called ‘the game’ by her fans. It will not be a surprise if The French Tennis Federation rolls back its decision soon.