Why Serena Williams Plays Tennis in This ‘Wakanda-Inspired’ Nike Catsuit at the French Open

Not all superheroes wear capes — this one wears a catsuit.

Surging past the first round with the defeat of Czech Republic player Kristyna Pliskova, Serena Williams made another major play this afternoon at the French Open when she trounced Australia’s Ashleigh Barty to advance to her next match — all in her now-viral, “Wakanda-inspired” Nike catsuit.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams wears the Nike catsuit in her win against Australian player Ashleigh Barty.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

The full-length outfit garnered international attention on Tuesday when Williams stepped out on the clay court for her commanding return to the sport following the birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia.

“I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, [a] queen from Wakanda,” she explained. “I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero. I feel like a superhero when I wear it.”


The 23-time Grand Slam champion — who intends to up that number one more after the Roland-Garros tournament — was left without a seeding when she was placed at No. 453 in the Women’s Tennis Association rankings. (Pliskova is ranked 70th while Barty sits at 17th.)

In a tweet, the three-time French Open winner opened up about her “superhero outfit,” writing, “For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy — here you go. If I can do it, so can you.” The 36-year-old suffered from post-birth complications due to a blood clot, and her skin-tight bodysuit serves as a functional solution to keep her blood circulation steady.

Williams faces her next opponent, the 11th-seeded Julia Görges from Germany, tomorrow in the round of 32.

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