Serena Williams hit the court in her victorious US Grand Slam opener against Magda Linette in a ballerina-inspired black skirt Monday night. The 36-year old totally outplayed her Polish rival, 26, in straight sets, 6-4 6-0 in her first US Open match in two years.
Before the match, Williams made clear she's not concerned by the French Open's policing of on-court fashion. "Obviously, the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do," she told reporters at her pre-US Open press conference, "but I feel like if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there's no way that they wouldn't be OK with it."
The victory came shortly after the French Open officials announced new rules to regulate players' uniforms for the 2019 edition. "I think that sometimes we've gone too far," said Bernand Giudicelli, the president of the French Tennis Federation, singling out Serena's black Nike catsuit, which she wore in her French Open opening match earlier this year.
Williams, a three-time French Open champion, is said to have worn her catsuit not just as an homage to Marvel superhero Black Panther — the full-body garment compression supposedly helped prevent life-threatening blood clots, something that she has been struggling with for years.
Her US Open outfit garnered increased attention in the tennis world and elsewhere, with many people praising Serena's on-court "response" to the catsuit comments.
Serena Williams was told she wasn't allowed to wear her “Black Panther” catsuit back to the French Open because she had to "respect the game."— Jennifer Bendery (@jbendery) 28 августа 2018 г.
So she showed up in a tutu. 💯https://t.co/WifbS5iDpk
Serena Williams is the Beyonce of sports— The Vibe Formerly Known As (@KARIFAUX) 28 августа 2018 г.
Serena Williams rocked a tutu at her U.S. Open comeback match, days after French Open officials criticized her clothing.— AJ+ (@ajplus) 28 августа 2018 г.
(She won, btw 💪🏿) pic.twitter.com/mfbHazXlQW
Aspire to be as badass as Serena Williams winning the first round of the U.S. Open in a tutu.— Jenna Amatulli (@ohheyjenna) 28 августа 2018 г.
With a total of 23 Grand Slam titles, the US tennis pro holds the most Grand Slam trophies in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players and is second in the all-time list. She has topped the WTA rankings for 319 weeks in total, which puts her third behind Steffi Graf and Martina Navratilova.