Serena Williams has been banned from wearing her ‘Black Panther’-inspired catsuit at future French Open tournaments.
The tennis champion made a memorable return to the court after maternity leave in the bodysuit which she revealed made her feel like a “warrior princess” from Wakanda – the fictional nation where the Marvel Comics film is set.
Williams revealed: “I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. We designed it way before the movie, but still, it kind of reminds me of that. I’m always living in a fantasy world, I always wanted to be a superhero and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”
But her look wasn’t merely a sartorial statement, as the skin-tight catsuit is designed to protect against blood clots after doctors found a haematoma (a swelling of clotted blood outside of a vessel) after the 36-year-old welcomed her daughter, Olympia Alexis Ohanian Jr., in September 2017.
Yet despite the safety precautions, it seems Williams will not be given another opportunity to wear the jumpsuit.
During an interview with Tennis Magazine, French Tennis Federation President, Bernard Giudicelli, stated: “We are going to ask the manufacturers to let us know what is coming. I believe we have sometimes gone too far. Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.”
— Christopher Clarey (@christophclarey) August 23, 2018
Unsurprisingly, the ban sparked widespread outrage across social media with users calling out Giudicelli for his sexist remarks.
One Twitter user took to the social media platform to write: “She just came back from pregnancy, reached an age of wisdom and you’re criticising her bodysuit? Does she have to play half naked to satisfy your tennis opinion? Nonsense!”
Another accused the French Tennis Federation President of racism, as they tweeted [sic]: “You have to respect the game and the place.” 1. Didn’t Anne White wear a white catsuit during Wimbledon? 2. If a white woman champion wore the same outfit, would he have said anything? (Yes, I’m going there.) 3. All the women players should boycott until Serena gets an apology.”