It’s been a rough year for Serena Williams after a handful of tennis officials have tried to make her life difficult from banning her famous Black Panther-esque catsuit from the court to being accused of cheating by umpires, to an Australian newspaper’s racist cartoon depiction of her. But Williams continue to be a remarkable sports figure and role model to young women everywhere. Her latest win is a testament to the power of social media and speaking out against discrimination.
Earlier this year, French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli stated that Williams’ form-fitting suit and others like it would “no longer be accepted” out of “respect” for the “game and place.”
Williams’ curve-conscious suit is actually a compression suit to prevent post-pregnancy blood clots, but social media joined together in a collective , “Yassss!” while getting all of their wigs snatched since Williams’ still managed to look like a sexy, powerful, athletic superhero. Giudeicelli felt that the attention was distracting from the sport itself and many on social media responded that Williams in fact IS the sport.
Nonetheless, the Grand Slam champion is having the last laugh. Yahoo! Sports recently reported that the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) has changed the rules regarding sports attire on the court for 2019 stating:
“Leggings and mid-thigh compression shorts may now be worn with or without a skirt, shorts or dress.”
Clearly someone got the message: Her game. Her rules.
The WTA also announced recently that they will enforce greater protections for women in the sport who are also mothers. Players returning from maternity leave or injury will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period. The 23-times Grand Slam champion made a comeback in February after giving birth to her daughter last year. Her world ranking had fallen to 451 when she was not seeded at the French Open.
It’s another set of wins for the mother of one, who has always been very adamant on the importance of breaking barriers for her daughter and other young women. But even if little Alexis Olympia won’t be one day rocking catsuits on the tennis court, she still has a bomb shoe collection waiting for her. At the launch of her L.A. pop-up store for The Serena Collection earlier this month, the 37-year-old revealed to PEOPLE that her massive shoe collection is being carefully curated to be passed down to her 1-year-old when she gets a little older to walk in her shoes, both literally and figuratively:
“We don’t make shoes yet in the collection but my whole shoe closet is for her and that’s why I buy so many.”
She also shared there’s a few pieces of clothing from her line that will be waiting for her daughter as well including a pink sweater emblazoned with the words, “I Am Beautiful. I Am Strong.”
No need for that baby to worry about having nothing to wear in the future since mama’s got her back:
“I’m definitely saving that for her.”