The catsuit Serena Williams wore during her Roland Garros opening round has been the talk of the French Open.
And while many of her peers, including the likes of Elina Svitolina, have made positive comments about the eye-catching outfit, Kristyna Pliskova, who lost to Serena on Tuesday, has questioned whether it was within the rules.
Serena, who had life-threatening health complications following the delivery of her baby, Olympia, last September, including blood clots in her lungs, said the catsuit had a special message behind it, while adding that it also had a functional compression purpose to help with blood circulation.
“Catsuit anyone? For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy—here you go. If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!” tweeted Serena on Tuesday.
She added in her press conference: “I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, queen from Wakanda maybe. I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a super hero, and it’s kind of my way of being a super hero. I feel like a super hero when I wear it.”
Pliskova was asked by Czech press about Serena’s outfit and said she wondered whether it was legal in tennis.
“I did not really know that she could play in this,” Pliskova was quoted as saying by isport.blesk.cz.
“What I remember, even when it was cold, they did not let anyone play in long trousers.
“But I guess she has her own rules. That’s the only thing. Otherwise I don’t care if she plays naked.”
Nothing against Serena's outfit, looks pretty cool actually. But just wondering how is that allowed by the rules if we only allowed to wear legging until the middle of the calf the longest, and ALWAYS have to wear skirt/shorts on top of the leggings.Were there any rules changes?
— Arina Rodionova (@arinarodionova) May 30, 2018
Fellow Czech Marketa Vondrousova had similar thoughts.
There is nothing in the 2018 Official Grand Slam Rulebook that clearly forbids players from wearing long pants during matches. And nothing is said regarding compression wear.
The following are excerpts from the rulebook:
“Sweatshirts, gym shorts, dress shirts, T-shirts or any other inappropriate attire shall not be worn during a match.”
“Players may wear warm-up clothing during the warm-up and during a match provided it complies with the foregoing provisions and provided further that the players obtain approval of the Referee prior to wearing warm-up clothing during a match.”
The Grand Slam Board has been contacted for comment but is yet to respond.
Meanwhile, No. 4 seed Elina Svitolina, who reached the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Viktoria Kuzmova on Wednesday, had good things to say about the catsuit, and welcomed Serena’s return to Grand Slam play after a 14-month absence.
“It’s nice, and I think it’s a strong message from her,” she said of the outfit.
“I read a little bit about the story behind it. So it’s really something special, and I think it’s nice to see her back, nice to see her winning again.
“And hopefully I can play with her because, for me, it’s something that I want to do. I want to play against Maria [Sharapova]. I want to play against Serena, against Victoria [Azarenka], such great champions.
“We are training for those kind of moments, for those kind of matches, to play on the big stage in front of lots of people. So I want to challenge myself against those players.”
Pretty cool hearing how excited players are to have Serena back, even on the men’s side.
“I heard she was wearing something pretty cool, too,” said Sam Querrey.#RG18
— Ben Rothenberg (@BenRothenberg) May 29, 2018