Maybe all bets are off now where professional tennis haute couture is concerned. With Serena Williams’ catsuit banned by the French Open and just this week, Alize Cornet being penalized for taking off her shirt when she realized after a heat break at the U.S. Open that it was on backwards, who knows what might be next for the sport and its sartorial challenges? These tennis style controversies are nothing new to the game though…
In 2016, a group of women playing in Wimbledon wore a white Nike babydoll dress. The dress was deemed too short and Nike managed a recall to alter the length to conform to the prestigious UK tournament’s rules. (Wimbledon also demands white outfits on their players). Also at Wimbledon, Anne White (while wearing white as per the rules) managed to trump Serena decades prior, in 1985, wearing a white catsuit. Her opponent in the match, Pam Shiver claimed White’s whites were too distracting to her play and The All England Club ruled that the all-white catsuit was indeed unfit for the tournament.
And back in the day (the late 50’s and 40’s to be exact) underwear seemed to be a distraction. Karol Fageros gold lame undies were thought too distracting and she agreed to cover the gold with white lace. And before her, playing almost a full decade before in 1949, American tennis player Gertrude Moran’s display of her own frilly, lace ‘knickers’ while playing at Wimbledon, her outfit was said to be a “vulgarity and sin into tennis.”
FYI: Serena Williams said the reason she wore her now infamous and tight catsuit was because she was combating blood clots she had been suffering since the recent delivery of her child. And we all know, Serena showing off her incredibly fit body, post baby or not, says a lot about how fit the game of tennis can make one.
But the styles will certainly be continued to be challenged.