The Associated Press reported Friday that the French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli, said the tournament is introducing a dress code to regulate players’ uniforms because he thinks “sometimes we’ve gone too far.” In an interview in Tennis magazine’s 500th edition, Giudicelli singled out the tight black Nike suit that Williams wore in May at the French Open, saying, “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.”
It’s unclear as of now what the dress code will look like, or if it will even come to fruition. “We haven’t implemented any dress code for the moment at Roland-Garros,” Giudicelli tells Yahoo Lifestyle when asked about the new regulations. “We are always eager to develop and enhance the best experience for everyone who comes to our tournament. Among many ideas, one is to engage a discussion with the tennis apparel designers regarding dress code tendencies for 2020. As we still have not yet come to any conclusion in this open debate, I cannot comment further at this time.”
Giudicelli was more specific with the AP, however. He said the new rules won’t be as strict as Wimbledon’s, which require that players wear white, but will “impose certain limits.”
Even against outfits that inspire and protect.
“It feels like this suit represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves,” Williams said while wearing her Black Panther-inspired one-piece in May. “I’m always living in a fantasy world,” she added. “I always wanted to be a superhero and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”
Every superhero needs protective gear, which this suit also served as. A tight uniform like this could save her life by preventing blood clots, which she almost died from during birth. “I have been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going. It’s a fun suit but it’s also functional, so I can be able to play without any problems.”
So it should come as no surprise that the public is not taking this news well. “Serena Williams, who wore an outfit specifically designed to help prevent blood clots because she almost *died* after giving birth, won’t be able to wear her catsuit again at the French Open because the tournament chief…doesn’t like it,” one Twitter user pointed out.
Serena Williams, who wore an outfit specifically designed to help prevent blood clots because she almost *died* after giving birth, won't be able to wear her catsuit again at the French Open because the tournament chief…doesn't like it.
That's literally the only reason. https://t.co/TiLo8JcSJj
— Rafi (@RafiDAngelo) August 24, 2018
See now this has really riled me. She’s wearing it to stop blood clots. It’s not some fashion statement. (She does look frickin amazing in it though) this is the French Open being a bunch of a***holes. Furthermore, she’s 👑 and can wear what the hell she wants!
— littlemisszai (@MunsifZaira) August 24, 2018
Another tweeted: “See now this has really riled me. She’s wearing it to stop blood clots. It’s not some fashion statement.”
The French Open has banned Serena Williams' black suit, saying that, ''I think that sometimes we've gone too far…One must respect the game and the place''
I *really* want to know how the outfit on the left is less "respectful" of the game of tennis than the outfit on the right pic.twitter.com/3iNUrkDd8y
— Mangy Jay (@magi_jay) August 24, 2018
Requiring women to wear short skirts to play tennis, had nothing to do with the actual game and everything with objectification. To top it off she's wearing this for medical reasons? The French Open wants her to risk her health for "It's always been this way"?
— Summer (@Summersday365) August 24, 2018
According the French Open organizers, this catsuit that Serena Williams wore this year is 'inappropriate' so they've banned it. Ja no, being black and excellent is tough 🙄
It literally has her entire body covered. pic.twitter.com/NgplF4hdMf
— Zweli Mbhele 🇿🇦 (@TheZweli) August 24, 2018
I don’t get this thing of Serena’s catsuit being deemed inappropriate for the French Open. All the women in professional tennis wear tiny, “revealing” clothes but the catsuit is inappropriate? You absolutely cannot convince me that this is anything other than misogynoir.
— Stormi Outsold (@THISisLULE) August 24, 2018
The Chief of the French Open says Serena can't wear a bodysuit that helps with her blood flow and prevent blood clots, for the sake of the women dressing more conservative, meanwhile before Venus & Serena, I ONLY watched women's tennis to see their underwear. 🙄
— Brandan Tate (@MarlonBrandan) August 24, 2018
Others are confused by how this high-neck pantsuit can be seen as disrespectful when most women wear tiny skirts to play tennis. As one person commented: “It literally has her entire body covered.”
Ridiculous. Bad move by the French Open. The catsuit looks much better than short skirts that reveal a player’s underwear. Plus, it probably helps prevent the blood clots that Serena’s had problems with. Should’ve said all can wear them instead.https://t.co/t8lFcdsKci
— Sally M (@McCombsonMain01) August 24, 2018
Some noted that the tennis champ and her sister Venus Williams have competed in much more revealing ensembles before. “Why is Serena’s catsuit all of a sudden a problem now? It has been done before and she’s worn less AT the actual French Open in 2004…” one user pointed out.
Why is Serena’s catsuit all of a sudden a problem now? It has been done before and she’s worn less AT the actual French Open in 2004… pic.twitter.com/pVMXg7GxMi
— Petunia (@stjeantropez) August 24, 2018
The hilarious thing about this is the French Open let Venus fly with this in 2010 💀 pic.twitter.com/auHcgekIj2
— Nino Kahan (@tchotchkele) August 24, 2018
A lot of people have taken issue with the fact that a man is telling a woman how to dress, yet again. “Another example of an old, overweight, white guy in business clothes telling women what to wear. This time it’s from @rolandgarros. It’s a real shame,” a Twitter user stated.
This is wrong on so many levels. How are we still in an era where a man decides what a woman wears to work?
Coz Serena playing tennis is her job. https://t.co/ZQyA26uXVx
— Tobi Oredein (@IamTobiOredein) August 24, 2018
— John Thrasher (@jthrasher) August 24, 2018
During the French Open I saw many White players who were nearly naked, but Bernard Giudicelli decides Serena Williams' catsuit was disrespectful?!?! What would powerful White people do if they didn't spend so much time policing Blackness? He is being disrespectful! pic.twitter.com/dHRBo5vShA
— I Block Bigots (@Fiorentina5) August 24, 2018
Some are accusing the Federation president of racism. One person tweeted: “What would powerful White people do if they didn’t spend so much time policing Blackness? He is being disrespectful!” while another wrote: “When your very presence is a threat to white supremacy and the #frenchopen singles you out to ban your #blackpanther inspired catsuit. @rolandgarros, thanks for showing your racism for everyone to see.”
A few have suggested that Williams boycott the tournament. One person wrote: “Let their attendance and their ratings suffer for their bigotry.” Another fan suggested that “male tennis players need to take the lead in shutting down the French Open’s new dress code that was created specifically to punish Serena. It should not be on her or other supportive female tennis players alone.”
I really think male tennis players need to take the lead in shutting down the French Open's new dress code that was created specifically to punish Serena. It should not be on her or other supportive female tennis players alone.
— Cobra Chicken Avoider (@haistanapa) August 24, 2018
She should skip it. She's bigger than the French Open. Let their attendance and their ratings suffer for their bigotry.
— Amir Talai (@AmirTalai) August 24, 2018
Or, Williams could take this woman’s advice:
I would like Serena to show up in this outfit for French Open next year and then remove it revealing a catsuit with a crown emblem. 👑 pic.twitter.com/uYwE9yorYb
— LaWanda (@lawanda50) August 23, 2018
Williams has not responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- Did Meghan Markle inspire pal Serena Williams’s $90 ‘Royal Duchess’ hoodie?
- French Open officials outlaw Serena Williams’ catsuit with new dress code
- Serena Williams talks wearing Nike x Off-White to the U.S. Open