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French Open bans Serena's 'Black Panther' catsuit

The player said the suit helped her to prevent blood clots.

Serena Williams playing in the first round of the French Tennis Open 2018.
Serena Williams playing in the first round of the French Tennis Open 2018.
Image: Liewig Christian/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

SERENA WILLIAMS WILL be banned from wearing her “Black Panther” catsuit again at the French Open after a Roland Garros chief described the outfit as “going too far”.

The 36-year-old American, who has won 23 Grand Slam titles and is considered one of the greatest players of all time, wore the outfit at the tournament earlier this year.

She said it was inspired by the Black Panther superhero movie and made her feel like a “warrior princess”.

As well as describing it as “fun and functional”, Williams said it helped her prevent a return of the blood clots which put her life in danger after giving birth last year.

However, the French Tennis Federation (FFT) has said that the outfit or anything similarly eye-catching will not be welcome at Roland Garros in 2019.

“I really believe that sometimes we have gone too far,” FFT president Bernard Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine in remarks reported by French media.

The outfit of Serena this year, for example, will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place. Everyone wants to enjoy the showcase.

Giudicelli said that there will be “certain limits” on clothing for the 2019 French Open although he admitted it may be difficult to take too hard a line.

“For 2019, it’s a little late because the collections are already designed, but we will still ask the equipment manufacturers to communicate them to us,” he said.

Former US Open winner Andy Roddick condemned the decision, tweeting: “This is so dumb and shortsighted it hurts. Sometimes it’d be nice if the sport got out of its own way.”

Nike responded to the ruling with a play on the Black Panther theme, posting on Instagram: “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”

© AFP 2018 

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