One year after her French Open catsuit stirred up controversy, Serena Williams was back at Roland Garros on Monday making another bold fashion statement.
Williams was dressed in a zebra-striped outfit designed by Nike for her first-round match against Russian Vitalia Diatchenko in Paris. The black-and-white athletic dress also featured a warm-up cape with the words, “mother, champion, queen, goddess” emblazoned on it in French — as a nod to her hosts.
Williams, in quest of her 24th Grand Slam of her career, started off Monday’s match shaky before coming back for a three-set win. She lost the first set to Diatchenko 6-2 before claiming the second set 6-1 and hitting her stride in the final set 6-0.
Williams posted on Twitter a preview of her French Open-designed look on Sunday. Last year her catsuit outfit drew controversy when French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli suggested Williams’ outfit was disrespecting the game.
The 37-year-old Williams entered the match in questionable health. She withdrew from the Italian Open earlier this month due to pain in her left knee. Ranked No. 10 in the world, Williams reached two Grand Slam finals last year at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in her first year back in the sport since the birth of her daughter. Her last Grand Slam win came in 2017’s Australian Open before her maternity leave.