The powerful meaning behind Serena Williams’ Black Panther catsuit on court

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Susan Devaney
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Serena Williams took to the court for the French Open this week wearing a black catsuit, feeling “like a superhero”. 

We all know by now that Serena Williams is one fierce competitor on the tennis court. But, just like us, she sometimes needs an extra confidence boost, which is why Williams reached for her “superhero” outfit before hitting the tennis court at the French Open this week.

“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, after beating Kristyna Pliskova on Tuesday 29 May.

The full-length black lycra suit may help with medical issues (Serena has been suffering from blood clots since giving birth to her first child) but it’s also about showcasing self-worth.

“I definitely feel like it is an opportunity for me to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids,” Williams said. 

It’s not the first time Williams has taken to the court in a powerful catsuit. Back in 2002, the tennis champion wore something similar at the US Open, but this version is catsuit 2.0.

“I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit,” she said, referring to the film Black Panther.

“We designed it way before the movie,” she said, “but still, it kind of reminds me of that.”

Williams said she feels “like a warrior princess, kind of” when she wears the outfit.

“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.”

Williams give birth nine months ago to her daughter Alexis Olympia on 1 September, since then she’s dealt with serious complications related to a pulmonary embolism.

“I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don’t know how many I have had in the past 12 months. So it is definitely a little functionality to it,” Williams said.

“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.”

And, of course, people on Twitter have been praising the tennis champion for her outfit choice.

She’s back. 

Images: Rex Features