‘Is it a garbage bag?’ one Twitter user questioned Serena Williams’ fashion statement when her on-court triumph in the ongoing Australian Open went unnoticed on social media.

The tennis superstar made the perfect start to the first major Grand Slam of the year, silencing German Tatjana Maria 6-0 6-2 in just 49 minutes on Tuesday. She took the court in a jade-green playsuit, pairing it with fish-net stockings that she will wear throughout the tournament.

The 37-year-old, World No.16, is back at the Australian Open this week and how! This is her first game at Melbourne Park since 2017 when she won the title while eight weeks’ pregnant. A break from the tour and returning into her fourth Grand Slam tournament is a major challenge, but Serena is slaying it like she always does

Eyeing her 24th Grand Slam

Serena started her campaign for a 24th Grand Slam title confidently, wearing the green one-piece suit, calling it “a Serena-tard”. But for netizens, her on-court outfit became the talking point, not the hard work she has been putting in for her training since giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, in September 2017.

Every time, she walks into the court, her outfit choices are questioned and even laughed at. And, she always has a befitting answer for the critics.

Talking about her attire at the 2019 Australian Open, Serena called it: “An incredibly strong, powerful statement for mums that are trying to get back and get fit. That was basically it for me,” stuff.co.nz reported

Last year, Serena had flaunted a tutu at the US Open. The move was in response to the French Tennis Federation’s decision banning her blood clot-preventing catsuit.

Also Read: Ten Leadership Skills we can learn from Serena Williams

The Catsuit ban

Isn’t it in bad taste to comment about a player’s outfits? Isn’t being comfortable in whatever he or she wears the crucial point here? While talking about her badass black panther-inspired catsuit, the new mom had then compared it to the fictional nation from Marvel – Wakanda. She said she came straight from Marvel Comics’ Black Panther. “I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It’s really fun,” she said.

Not just her clothes, the constant criticism of being “shapely”, “muscular,” and “masculine” have followed Serena like shadows. The level of body-shaming crossed limits when the suit was banned in French Open same year.

However, many of the Twitterati backed the tennis ace, calling it her best look.

For a number of people, the suit is “obscene”. For Serena, the bodysuit represents comfort and medical assistance. Besides making her look cool, the outfit served a medical purpose. “I’ve had a lot of problems with my blood clots,” Serena revealed, speaking to reporters at the French Open, vt.co reported. “God, I don’t know how many I’ve had in the past 12 months. I’ve been wearing pants in general a lot when I play, so I can keep the blood circulation going.”

The catsuit helped her deal with the blood clots that she suffered while giving birth.

Serena’s Badass Move

Interestingly, Serena took the discouragement playfully, and in the 2018 US Open, the tennis champion stunned the trolls with her new outfit: a single-sleeved dress with a black tulle tutu, looking absolutely badass.

“[It’s] kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free. It feels really good,” Serena told reporters, Elle reported. “Yeah, the tutu is easy to play in because I practised in it before. That was fun.”

The Serena-tard

Williams added that her outfit had been designed in advance, almost 18 months ago. She said to TOI, “I’ve been working really, really hard in the off-season to be incredibly fit and ready. I took a year off, still trying to get 12 months of playing under my belt.”

One minor detail about the suit is that it outlined her curves because of post-pregnancy weight gain. However, Serena, never has and never will shy away from showcasing the bliss of motherhood. Admit it! There’s no point in trying to cage her. But the Twitterati continued their rant:

The Australian Open authorities are apparently not as strict with their dress code, allowing the 37-year-old American to wear her new eye-catching bodysuit.

Others were praising Williams as a trend-setter in the tennis world.

Serena’s career at a glance:

  • Serena surpassed Steffi Graf’s haul of 22 Grand Slam titles, and now has won the most by any player in the Open era (since 1968). Only Margaret Court, on 24, is ahead in the all-time list.
  • In 2002, she became world number one for the first time.
  • The American has reached 31 Grand Slam singles finals.
  • She was 17 when she won her first Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open, defeating world number one Martina Hingis.
  • Serena has won a record number of 331 Grand Slam singles matches.
  • She is the oldest woman to win a Grand Slam in the Open era, and the oldest world number one.
  • Serena has also won 23 doubles titles, including 14 Grand Slams and three Olympic golds.

Serena’s first round performance was an extraordinary start after missing the event last year following the birth of her first child. She had four surgeries and returned to the WTA Tour last March.

Serena will face Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in the second round. She is hoping to equal Australian Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams.

Feature Image Credit: FanDuel

READ: Serena Williams Talks About Sexism

Read More Stories By Ria Das

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