Paris is said to be the home of the fashion forward, unfortunately however it seems the French Open president missed the memo and has found himself in hot water with tennis fans.
On Friday it was announced that Serena Williams had been banned from wearing her Nike black catsuit again. French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudieccli stated that the French Opens will be releasing new regulations in regards to introducing a new dress code for 2019. Highlighting Willaims catsuit from last spring’s tournament, Giudieccli commented “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far”.
He further explained “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.”
Outraged at the Frenchmans comments, many tennis fans and celebrities flocked to twitter to openly protest their disapproval at the ban. Some saw the ban as an attack on black women’s bodies. The white woman’s body is seen as the norm and tasteful while the black women’s physique is often othered and sexualised. Serena is not alien to this and unfortunately mockery about the stars figure has plagued her whole career,commentators have likened her figure to being “muscular” and have used words such as “aggressive” to describe the tennis star style of play.
Of course one cannot forget the whole Caroline Wozniacki debacle. The Danish tennis star in a match against Maria Sharapova, confusingly had decided to stuff her shirt and skirt with towels and prance around the court giving a somewhat bizarre imitation of Ms Williams. The ban itself inherently may not be racist, but we do have to wonder if it was a white woman in the black catsuit would Giudieccli have made such remarks.
Others have criticised the fact that the French Open ignorantly did not examine the reasons why Williams had chosen to wear the catsuit in the first place.
The catsuit is more than a mere fashion statement , it is actually a health saver. After experiencing life-threatening complications with the birth of her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, Williams decided to forgo her usual attire and don the catsuit due to problems with continuous blood clots. The suit provides on-going blood circulation thus reducing the risk of blood clots.
The French Tennis Federation should focus more on ways to improve the tournament then try finding faults with a woman trying to take care of her health in a fashionable way.