When it comes to tennis and fashion, Serena Williams is one to make a style statement on and off the courts. On her off days, she can often be found sporting casual pieces from her own eponymous fashion line Serena, which carries a range of everyday items such as tees and hoodies. For her tennis matches, Williams always sets the precedent in wearing a sporty look that inspires and creates impactful conversations, such was the case at the 2021 Australian Open. Williams wore a one-legged catsuit that paid homage to the late Florence Griffith-Joyner. (Joyner, known as Flo-Jo, was an Olympian track and field star, and holds the record for the fastest woman in the world.) She famously wore one-legged unitards in her races, which inspired Williams to wear one this week. The tennis legend's custom bright pink and black Nike catsuit shared the asymmetrical design of Flo-Jo's previous one-pieces.
In a post-game press conference, Williams said, "I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete, when I was growing up. Watching her fashion, just always changing. Her outfits were always amazing. The Nike team actually thought of this design of inspiration from Flo-Jo. I was like, 'Oh, my god, this is so brilliant.'"
Williams At The 2021 Australian Open:
Griffith-Joyner At The Olympic Trials In 1988:
Catsuits have become a regular on-court choice for Williams. At the 2018 French Open, her first match after the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Williams opted for a black catsuit that served as a compression garment. (The star had been open about her pregnancy, sharing with Vogue in 2018, that she suffered blood clots in her lungs after giving birth.) "I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going," she said in press conference in 2018. "It's a fun suit but it's also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems." However, the one-piece did spark controversy after The French Open banned the look for future tournaments.
This incident did not stop Williams from wearing what she loves and feels good in, though. At the 2019 Wimbledon Championship, the tennis star accessorized her all-white mini dress with a Swarovski crystal Nike swoosh, or as Heidi Burgett, Nike's senior director of global communications, dubbed it: a "broosh." The shiny broach featured 34 crystals in reference to William's age when she won earned her 7th Wimbledon title.
These hidden meanings with her tennis outfits is a theme Williams continually brings to the courts. With the Australian Open running until Feb. 21, keep an eye on Williams as she has a history of adding thoughtful fashion details to her ensembles.