Bleats

Serena Williams Crushes It At French Open, Serves Black Panther Vibes In Her Skin-Tight Black Catsuit

Everyone went wild for her Wakandan queen vibes as the legend won her first 2018 French Open match in a casual post-pregnancy catsuit. Bring on Black Panther 2 starring Serena Williams.

Serena Williams is making headlines for not only winning her first-round French Open match, but winning it dressed like a real life superhero.

Specifically, fans and Williams herself decided her skin-tight black Nike catsuit evoked the iconic Black Panther vibranium getup.

“I call it like my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. It’s really fun,” Williams joked after her victory against Kristyna Pliskova at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

“I feel like a warrior wearing it, a queen from Wakanda.”

While Chadwick Boseman indisputably makes a damn fine fictional Black Panther in the recent Marvel films (Wakanda forever!), you can’t deny that Serena Williams has earned the title of real life superhero.

After winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant, then surviving the traumatic, life-threatening childbirth of her daughter just last September, the previous world #1 player has worked hard to get back on the court. And here she is, absolutely slaying.

So eat your heart out, Boseman. (Although we’d like to remind you that he’s 42 and still working it.)

While Williams has leaned into to the link to the Wakandan aesthetic, she did specify that her outfit was designed before the film’s release. The Nike one-piece is also designed to help with her blood circulation, as Williams has had a lot of problems with blood clots over the last 12 months.

So it’s both functional and an epic aesthetic. 

According To French Open Seeding System, Serena Williams Is Now An Easy Beat Because She Had A Baby

Williams was ranked the world's number one tennis player before she took maternity leave and now she's number 453 but whatever I guess.

You would think that when a player as iconic and talented as Serena Williams returns from maternity leave that she would be welcomed back with overwhelming respect. But unfortunately, you would be wrong.

Yass we can.

Although Williams was ranked the No.1 tennis player before she left the tour in January 2017, the French Open has decided not to seed her in the upcoming tournament. It’s made it clear that the Women’s Tennis Association needs new rules to protect mothers.

Apparently officials think it’s appropriate to go off her current ranking, which dropped to No. 453… because she was busy having a baby. Yes, even the greatest athlete of our time (don’t @ me) is copping a career hit for taking maternity leave.

Superstars: they’re just like us!

For anyone who needs a refresher, ‘seeding’ is basically planting players strategically across the tournament brackets so that the top dogs don’t meet (and knock each other out) until later in the competition. By convention, the seeds are sorted according to the player’s world ranking, but the final decision and any special considerations are in the hands of the tournament officials. 

French Open officials could have opted to honour Williams’ status and seed her higher (not necessarily at No. 1), but instead there’s a chance that the 23-time Grand Slam singles winner will be squaring off with other top players in the early rounds.

I mean, Serena Williams has literally won the French Open more than any other currently active female player, but sure, let’s not acknowledge that she’s one of the most talented athletes in the world and let’s not take her seriously as a threat on the court. That seems fair.

The backlash against the French Open and the lack of WTA regulations to protect women from this situation has seen other big names in tennis pipe up in Williams’ defence.

“I would like to see that [rule] change,”commented Maria Sharapova.

“[Pregnancy and childbirth is] such an incredible effort for a woman to come back from physically, emotionally.”

The current top-ranked player, Simona Halep, also expressed her disapproval, saying  “It’s normal to give birth. It’s normal to have protected ranking. … It’s more than tennis.”

In the wake of the controversy, The Women’s Tennis Association has stated that it’s considering changing the rules to protect the seedings for highly ranked players returning from maternity leave, but that wouldn’t take effect until next year at best.

In the meantime, the French Open draw will be made on Thursday, with the tournament starting on Sunday.

Tennis authorities seriously need to step up so that female players’ hard work isn’t essentially erased for taking maternity leave.

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