Controversy Surrounds Serena Williams During U.S. Open

When Serena Williams wore a full-body catsuit to the French Open earlier this year, fans of the tennis player were pleasantly surprised by her fashion forward outfit. The catsuit, which Williams said was inspired by the movie Black Panther and the fictional country of Wakanda did not impress the French tennis officials however. The French tennis officials went as far to ban Williams’ catsuit from future matches. 

Williams later went on to explain that the catsuit was meant to be functional. After giving birth to her daughter last year, she suffered blood clots in her lungs that almost caused her to die. The purpose of the catsuit was to keep blood circulation going as she played tennis. The French Tennis federations responded to Williams’ catsuit by introducing a new dress code that athletes would be expected to follow. The president of the French Tennis Federation explained that the dress code would not be too strict, but would require athletes to respect the game. 

In response to the controversy surrounding her outfit choice at the French Open, Williams competed at the U.S. Open in a tutu. Not only was the outfit a fashion statement, but it sent an important message as well. Some fans of Williams believe her message was that actions speak louder than words, and rather than addressing her banned catsuit with a speech she would use her outfit to make a statement. 

William’s outfit choice was not the only shocking thing to happen at the U.S. Open though. During the U.S. Open women’s final the umpire penalized her for allegedly cheating, saying that she was being coached from the stands. She then received another penalty for smashing her racket, because she was upset about the accusation that she was cheating. She then confronted the umpire saying that he was a thief for stealing a point from her and expressing her anger about being accused of cheating. She was penalized once again for confronting the umpire, which ultimately cost her the match. 

Since losing the match to Naomi Osaka from Japan, Williams has been quite vocal about what happened at the match. She has called out the U.S. Tennis Federation for inequality in the sport, claiming that male tennis players have confronted the umpire and not been penalized like she was. She has also spoken about her anger when it comes to being accused of cheating, because she was allegedly not cheating and as a professional was offended about the accusation.