Serena Williams has advanced to the second round of the 2019 French Open after her first-round win over Vitalia Diatchenko of Russia on Monday.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion took to the tennis courts in Paris wearing her latest apparel designed for her by Virgil Abloh, a Black designer who is the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, and founder of fashion label Off-White.
— Uche Amako (@UcheAmako) May 27, 2019
“Virgil Abloh designed it and so I was really excited because he’s the hottest designer right now and he’s amazing,” Williams told the Tennis Channel.
“It’s the second time we’ve worked together. And it has words in it in French. It talks about me being a mom and me being a queen, as all women are. A champion. It’s a positive reinforcement for me, and I kind of love that.”
The design comes with a cape with the words “Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess” written in French.
— Tennis Channel (@TennisChannel) May 27, 2019
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 26, 2019
Last year, French Open officials banned her from wearing a Nike black compression-material catsuit. It was also created to prevent blood clots, which she incurred during pregnancy.
“I feel like a warrior in it, a warrior princess … from Wakanda, maybe,” she told reporters in May 2018, referring to her catsuit and the film “Black Panther.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero.”
After backlash, in December, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) announced several rule changes for 2019, including: “Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts, or dress.” (Women have worn leggings on tour for a while now, typically, without incident.)
At the French Open, Williams next faces Japan’s Kurumi Nara or Slovenian Dalila Jakupovic.
“There is always a lot of fear for a first-round match,” Williams said, according to BBC. “I made lots of mistakes in the first set and I just said ‘good luck, Serena.’
“I was strong after that. Now I feel like I need to go and practice.”