Back in May, Serena competed in the French Open, where she wore this compression bodysuit:
The look was fashion AF, but it served a medical purpose, too. The bodysuit was specifically designed to help Williams prevent blood clots — an ongoing health issue for the athlete.
“It’s a fun suit, but it’s also functional so I can play without any problems,” she told reporters at the time.
That should have been the end of this story, but alas: This week, the president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, announced that they would be enacting a dress code for future games. He said that outfits like Serena’s go “too far,” and specifically called out her bodysuit.
“It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place,” he said.
HOKAY. SO. Beyond the fact that Serena’s bodysuit served an important medical purpose, a lot of people were angry to see Serena’s fashion being criticized — including tennis legend Billie Jean King.
The policing of women’s bodies must end. The “respect” that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies. https://t.co/ioyP9VTCxM
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 25, 2018
After all, when you’re the GOAT, who gives a shit what you wear?
— Nike (@Nike) August 25, 2018
And lots of people took issue with Giudicelli questioning Williams’ “respect” for the game.
Yeah, I'm pretty sure Serena Williams shows "respect" for the game by playing it better than, you know, everyone ever.
— Jesse Wente (@jessewente) August 25, 2018