Serena Williams’ Crystal-Studded Game-Day Curls Perfectly Matched Her Manicure

Long live the queen.

Serena Williams selfie fluffy cinnamon curls

There will only ever be one Serena Williams. As one of the greatest athletes to ever compete in any sport, her legacy as an all-time champion — not to mention her tireless efforts for social justice — is only rivaled by her reputation as the ultimate role model. But amid all the conversations about Williams’ larger-than-life impact, it’s crucial to mention her underrated (and always perfect) eye for major fashion and beauty moments. For her bittersweet final appearance at the U.S. Open, she outfitted herself in head-to-toe sparkle worthy of an icon — even Serena Williams’ hair shined on the court, her voluminous curls, waves, and coiled dotted with gleaming rhinestones like a freeform crown. It’s the very definition of going out in style.

Even before Williams set a single jewel-embellished sneaker on the USTA Billie Jean King Tennis Center courts, fans knew something major was coming. In early August, Williams announced her intention to retire from the game at the conclusion of the season, making this U.S. Open her last. Days before the tournament began, she was teasing Instagram followers with exciting glimpses into her competition look, starting with an immaculate manicure featuring a glossy beige base coat and a rhinestone constellation.

Williams continued the opulent vibe with a custom Nike ensemble: glittering warm-up cape, a bodice and tutu embroidered to look like the shimmering night sky, and bespoke, diamond-encrusted NikeCourt Flare 2s that spell out “queen” down one lace and “mama” down the other — a sweet shoutout to her beautiful daughter, Olympia, who watched the match in her own homage to Williams.

Those light-catching hair crystals — and Williams’ bouncy game day style altogether — is the work of celebrity stylist Nikki Nelms, who also works with stars like Zoë Kravtiz and Janelle Monae.

To hydrate her bouncy curls, Nelms used the Maui Moisture Curl Quench Curl Milk as a leave-in conditioner before sweeping Williams’ hair back into a high pony. Considering how well Williams is playing on her victory lap, call her look a certified power pony. Though she’s retiring from tennis, something says fans are about to see a lot more of the legendary Williams.