How do we feel about Serena Williams’ Nike ‘catsuit’ at the French Open?

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Serena Williams won her first round match at the French Open on Tuesday. It was her first Slam match since the 2017 Australian Open, where she won the trophy while she was about nine weeks pregnant. Serena gave birth last September, and as she has detailed in interviews and on her HBO show, the birth was incredibly difficult. She had a last-minute C-section, she had blood clots and she needed at least three surgeries after the C-section. It was awful and it took her weeks to just be able to walk again. Obviously, she couldn’t simply “bounce back” in a month, which was difficult for Serena to realize, if you’ve been watching Being Serena.

Anyway, the point is that she’s been through the wringer physically and emotionally and she came out of it still wanting to play tennis. She came back on the red dirt of Roland Garros and she won her first match in straight sets, even though she wasn’t playing her best tennis overall (she got through it though). She was happy and she’s on to the next round. If she wins two more matches and Maria Sharapova wins two more matches, they’ll meet in the fourth round. It might be a mess, but I still believe that she just wants to get some matches in on clay and then she’ll really buckle down for Wimbledon.

But what people were focused on mostly during her first match? Serena’s Nike catsuit. Nike has been – in my opinion – messing around with Serena’s kits for a few years. I hated when Nike started giving her those “sleeves” (like basketball players wear) and I absolutely loathed the high-neck, mock-turtle styles they were giving her (and other women) for the past two years. But this catsuit is… next-level. After she won her match, Jon Wertheim asked her about the catsuit, and she said:

“All the moms out there that had a tough pregnancy and have to come back and try to be fierce, in a middle of everything. That’s what this represents. You can’t beat a catsuit, right?…I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit. We designed it way before the movie… I feel like a warrior in it, like a warrior princess kind of, (a) queen from Wakanda. I’m always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it’s kind of my way of being a superhero. I feel like a superhero when I wear it.”

[From USA Today]

See, now I feel like I can’t really hate on the catsuit. I mean… if she feels comfortable and powerful and like a warrior, so be it. I doubt she wanted to go out there in a little tennis skirt, but I also feel like there was a happy medium, and that happy medium resembles her 2017 AO kit. But seriously… this catsuit just looks so binding and uncomfortable!

Also: Novak Djokovic got to spend some time with little Olympia. This photo made me ridiculously happy, mostly because Uncle Novak and Olympia seem equally delighted each other.

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Photos courtesy of Getty & Twitter.

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97 Responses to “How do we feel about Serena Williams’ Nike ‘catsuit’ at the French Open?”

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  1. Elisabeth says:

    seems hot and stifling

    • Alix says:

      ITA. I have no opinion on the aesthetic of it, I just think it looks so hot and sweaty.

      • still_sarah says:

        That was my 1st thought too – “I hope it wasn’t too hot at the Open that day”.

    • Spargel says:

      Agree. Shiny black while working out in full sun? But you do you, S!

    • NameChange says:

      I think it looks comfortable and I see holes/mesh throughout, so it’s definitely breathable.

      Can we talk about Olympia?? How cute is she??

      • Stella in NH says:

        I love how that sweet baby is rocking an AC/DC tshirt. What a cutie!!

      • Milla says:

        She’s adorable baby gal.

        And if Serena can play in that suit and win, who cares… She knows her body and btw she looks awesome.

      • ichsi says:

        SO CUTE! She looks like a doll! And SO MUCH like her father, it’s incredible!

      • RedOnTheHead says:

        This! Serena looks great, catsuit looks hot to me but then I’m not wearing it. But c’mon, nothing is as cute as that baby! Nothing

      • KiddV says:

        And baby jorts. Or would they be baby Daisy Dukes. Or baby cut-offs. Whatever. They’re adorable. And so is she.

      • Brickyardute says:

        Also after pregnancy? I felt very wobbly. Even a year later with regular excercise. I wanted everything locked down with my spanx. Most importantly she was feeling it and I like to see a Woman who looks and feels good. Go get it Serena! We’re rooting for you.

      • DearWhitePeople says:

        Dear Lord that BABY!! I think she OWNS her power, all of it, ventilated and controversial!

      • noway says:

        I’m sure it’s comfortable to her, and yes Serena can do whatever she likes. Still I don’t like it. I did love both her dresses at the royal wedding and especially the second with her Nike trainers so I sometimes do really like her fashion choices. It’s unimportant and just fun to talk about, but her play is more important and hope she does well.

        Yes Olympia is gorgeous and has one of those great baby smiles.

    • Apalapa says:

      As someone with slightly similar proportions, I know she gets a lot of friction in the inner thighs and the arms and boob area. It is nice to have those areas covered for sports. And also I wonder if her c section area still needs the support/tightness.

      She is the GOAT, she has almost died -multiple times! – so she can do whatever she wants by me

      And Alexis Olympia looks so much like her daddy!

      • Honest B says:

        Yes I have thighs like hers and I am not a skirt wearer for that reason. I do have kick ass powerful legs though so the trade off is worth it!

      • Carrie1 says:

        I had similar thoughts. Skin issues and post surgeries… clothing is difficult. Sports clothing can help a lot. It looks as if it’d be hotter but sometimes it’s a cooling for skin, and helpful, rather than having exposed skin. Breathability is a great help. Second skin function to help your main skin sort of is what I’m trying to explain. I’ve a rare disorder and skin difficulties are vast. I have to be entirely covered when outside especially, in all weather.

        It sounds like she designed or had significant input into this. I’m loving it because it may have hit on something people with skin disorders can use to help enjoy being safely outside. Think of rash shirts, swimwear, etc. Similar thing.

        I’ll be interested to hear from her as to how it performed. Currently there are only 2-3 places I can find safe clothing. If this works, Nike can thank Serena for opening up a whole new market for them.

      • Josephine says:

        Yes to everything you said. I like the support, too, and I love that she and her sister wore what they wanted throughout their careers.

      • Llamas in pajamas says:

        Great point. Thigh rub is the worst! Also Rockstars used to wear cat suits on stage, so the GOAT can rock one, as much as she likes. It’s not her job to look all prim and proper in a white plead skirt,it’s not Wimbledon yet.

      • whatWHAT? says:

        I’m pretty sure someone wore a white catsuit to Wimbledon one year and took all kinds of flack for it.

    • Liz says:

      Serena said that the compression pants made a big difference for her circulation – which was a concern after all the problems she has had with blood clots. The super high-tech fabrics wick away moisture really well these days – I’m sure she’s very comfortable in that gear.

      And she can wear whatever she wants!

    • Snappyfish says:

      It looks as if it wouldn’t breathe. She looks amazing but I am a fan of the tennis skirt . Was sorry Venus went out first round

    • Veronica says:

      It’s probably body wick material. It looks hot, but it actually is surprisingly breathable and handles moisture well.

    • AnnaKist says:

      I agree. I’m perspiring just looking at the catsuit, and it’s really bloody cold here right now – 5°C at 1:14am. Brrrrr!

    • Milo says:

      I agree it looks hot and binding, but it’s fitness clothes so I bet the fabric is quick dri, super breathable, and she probably feels naked versus skirts and tops that move against you and flare out and get in the way. I don’t love the catsuit but if I had the cojones I’d probably dress just like that for my workouts for sheer comfort.

    • Deedee says:

      Agreed. But that baby is cute.

  2. Léna says:

    I always assumed it was mandatory to wear a skirt or shorts to play in competition?

    This baby girl is precious!

    • anika says:

      I think that’s just Wimbledon (all white – also underwear etc.).

    • Liz says:

      That’s the Wimbledon dress code. The rest of the Slams let the athletes wear what they want.

      I have fun at the first round of the US Open picking out who is sponsored by Nike – they all wear the same thing (with minor variations). Serena and one or two others get their own gear, the rest of them are sent that year’s standard package.

      • Léna says:

        Thank you Anika and Liz for the answers!

        As my mom was playing tennis for 15years in her youth, she always had to “dress up” for competition, as well as me during badminton competitions, which I hated because I hate my legs.

  3. Janetdr says:

    Not my cup of tea, but a goddess can wear what she wants!

  4. CidyKitty says:

    That looks incredibly uncomfortable. Hot, stifling, ugh. Girl.. no.

    • Tiny Martian says:

      I agree.

      As a former professional ballet dancer who wore tights and a leotard or a unitard on a daily basis for years, I can’t see how this is the most comfortable choice. I couldn’t wait to get out of my tights and into something loose and comfortable after work. So I’ll never understand when other people describe tights or leggings or any other clothing that compresses the body as a comfortable choice.

      • Chinoiserie says:

        Because this is made form completely different material. Modern sportwear breaths well, is thin and felxible and I thinks kind of shape where its not separate pieces should not be thight on the waist either.

        Also if you were a ballerina you probably are so thin you don’t have chaffing so pants help wit that if she has issues. And it’s in the son so if it’s a good material the cover should be cooling. The only issue I have is the color due to the sun but I don’t know how warm the weather there and I assume she tested this.

      • magnoliarose says:

        One of my closest friends is a ballet dancer and she hates body con anything. She loves loose fits and flowy fabrics after being bound all day long without air on her skin.
        It doesn’t look comfortable to me either but mostly because it is black and I think of it soaking up the heat from the sun.
        I like my running pants that are similar but a full body of it playing tennis I am not so sure about. The fabric is breathable like said about but the top half is the part that I think seems uncomfortable.

  5. Rescue Cat says:

    I like the catsuit. But I would.

    • Erinn says:

      I don’t hate it, either. Depending on the fabric too – I don’t mind clingy material. Certain times of clingy fabric actually feels nice – kind of like a hug, I guess.

      And I mean – it’s sportswear. It’s not some kind of regular clothing that would be extra hot. It’s made for working out. I don’t think the top would be any worse than a regular sports fabric tshirt. And the legs seem almost like they have mesh/venting on the sides. I don’t think it’d be exceptionally hot, honestly.

    • Babs says:

      Yeah, me too, I like it a lot.

  6. Abby says:

    hmm. It seems very much *not* what anyone is wearing in tennis. I know it’s not Wimbledon… are there rules about attire elsewhere? I feel like a tiny flouncy skirt, like the link you posted, would make this tennis-appropriate. I definitely think she’s the best athlete on earth right now and so she can wear whatever she wants but… it’s almost like a swim suit. Like the pro swimming suits (don’t know what they’re called). It doesn’t look comfortable to me. But it doesn’t seem to be hampering her so, go Serena. I would prefer a little skirt on it, just because I personally would like something covering my rear if the outfit was that skintight. But I am not Serena.

    I LOVE that photo of little Olympia and Djokovic. They look so pleased together!

  7. IlsaLund says:

    The suit is probably designed to breathe and move with her. I doubt she’d wear anything that would inhibit or constrict her playing ability.

    And Olympia is a living doll…such a cutie.

  8. minx says:

    Her call, obviously…looks confining to me.
    Her baby is adorable beyond words.

  9. nikki says:

    Ooh. I think it’s neat! That’s the first thing I thought of too: superhero!

    It’s made by Nike, so I’m sure it’s some crazy heat-dispersing-ultra-super-micro-suede. Or it has nano-refrigeration woven in, or something. :P

    • Sullivan says:

      Your comment made me smile.

    • Des says:

      Yeah I don’t get all the people acting as if she, Serena Williams, GOAT, got something off the rack at H&M. She’s probably testing out some kind of super advanced material us plebes won’t even get to buy until 5 years from now.

    • Surely Wolfbeak says:

      Yes! Find a place for her in the MCU!

  10. Swack says:

    Baby is cute as all get out. She can wear what she wants but am afraid too much focus may be put on the outfit and not on how well she is playing.

  11. Beth says:

    I’d be soaked in sweat. Looks like it would be incredibly hot and uncomfortable. I prefer light colored sleeveless tops and shorts while playing in the hot sun. Her daughter is absolutely adorable

  12. Jussie says:

    The same way I feel about 90% of her fashion choices. Only once in a blue moon does she stumble into wearing something that’s flattering.

    Let’s not pretend it’s Nike letting her down. She just has bad style. Nike actually make custom ugly things just to please her. They’ve even brought on her on to personally design capsule collections, and every time they’ve been a level of god-awful Nike would usually never go near with a ten foot pole.

  13. Susie says:

    It’s probably meant to be constricting, to keep everything in place. She just had a baby!

    • BearcatLawyer says:

      That’s what I thought. After I had an abdominal hernia repaired, I wore a binder for several weeks. When I took it off to shower or sleep, my scar just did not feel strong or stable enough. If I were playing in the French Open, I darn sure would want everything held tight in place no matter how hot it was!

    • adastraperaspera says:

      Yes! I think being supported with the tight fabric would really help after the surgeries.

  14. hindulovegod says:

    She told ESPN it’s a compression suit, which makes a lot of sense. She’s nearly died of embolisms twice. Practicalities aside, I thought she looked like an Avenger and I am here for it!

    • lallyvee says:

      I was watching the match and couldn’t figure out what she was wearing. I don’t like it.

    • Slowsnow says:

      OF course. I don’t understand the pearl clutching because she’s not wearing a tennis skirt. Clothes are supposed to enhance your performance. The bandanas Nadal wears all the time prevent his sweat (he sweats so much bless his heart) from dripping into his eyes.

    • Chaine says:

      She looks fierce. And I loved the pop of pink from the belt.

    • supersoft says:

      This makes sense, and if she needs a suit like that, than there is no reason ever to shame her for it. She looks pretty cool, tbh, so personally i dont understand the nagging about it.

  15. detritus says:

    Her comments remind me again of how important it is to see representation in the media. Serena Williams, GOAT, references wanting to be a Wakanda warrior.

    Baby is cute AF, and the catsuit looks like matching top and bottoms for yoga, it’s cool. Much fiercer than flouncy skirts.

  16. Slowsnow says:

    Nike doesn’t let her down as she designs her clothes with them and is clearly incredibly happy about it. If she says it’s for mums, it clearly has a very specific fabric and was studied to stimulate circulation and other things one struggles with after having undergone a c-section and multiple surgeries.
    For those reasons and her spectacular body, I think she looks fierce as hell and I imagine myself wearing that next Saturday when I play. *I only, I’m so broke*

  17. Betsy says:

    I like it. I agree with IlsaLund: that’s probably special fabric, so it’s probably fairly cool.

  18. Snowflake says:

    I’ve seen her outfits on the court and I thought they were ugly. I didn’t realize Nike was designing them. Catsuit is fug, Olympia is adorable

  19. lightpurple says:

    I think it would look better without the red thing around her waist. That throws it all off.

    Olympia is one adorable child.

    • Honey says:

      I was just about to post this. I don’t have a problem with the catsuit, per se, but the belt is something else altogether different. Why is that belt needed? Perhaps if it were in a different shade, a muted shade, it wouldn’t be so offensive or jarring to the eye. I can see women buying and wearing it without the red spandex belt.

      Olympia looks like a cute lil cabbage patch baby.

  20. Maum says:

    She loves it!
    It’s obviously comfortable if she’s able to play a match in humid heat wearing it.

    And it makes her feel like a warrior.

    Go for it, Serena!

  21. Deanne says:

    It’s apparently a compression suit. I think she looks fierce in it. Her baby is absolutely the sweetest. What a beautiful little girl.

  22. Honest B says:

    I think a cape would finish the look off. Serious.

  23. Lara says:

    I love it! Why should women always run around in short flouncy skirts?
    And since its Nike with a lot of mesh it will be comfortable.
    Reminds me of a superhero outfit, the Wakanda comparison is perfekt!

  24. kellyjellybellybean says:

    I personally love it! She’s such an awesome person & a strong role model. She deserves the best and more

  25. Lucy says:

    I mean, I probably wouldn’t, but she’s working it.

  26. HK9 says:

    It’s Serena-she can do whatever she damn well wants. (I really do like it tho!)

  27. HeyThere! says:

    She looks great, I love it. It’s Nike, come on they aren’t going to make it hot and uncomfortable! She probably feels naked it’s so comfy.

  28. Shelley says:

    I’m a catsuit fan I general. This looks hot, but I bet it actually felt good with the compression. Having a baby can make joints a little loosey goosey

  29. my3cents says:

    That baby is next level cuteness, the catsuit- just seems really hot and sweaty…

  30. smcollins says:

    I think she looks fantastic as well as comfortable. But really my biggest takeaway from this post is how friggin’ adorable Olympia is! That is one happy, gorgeous baby girl!

  31. lucy2 says:

    She pretty much is a superhero, right?
    I think the catsuit looks badass, and she seemed happy with it, so good.

    Also, Olympia might be the cutest baby I’ve ever seen.

  32. Rose says:

    It does look like an outfit that you would get hot in. Except today materials for all the tennis gear are anything but that. If she is comfortable and she can play the level of tennis that she wants, then it is a win win for her.

  33. Ladykeller says:

    I could see it being comfortable and supportive. No chafing and helps support her postpartum tummy. Plus – it’s designed by nike – I’m pretty sure a lot of thought and research went into it.

    And she’s a goddess no matter what she wears.

  34. J.Mo says:

    Who cares? She won.

  35. britt mezher says:

    It may well be that Serena is required to wear compression garments after her blood clots whilst giving birth.

    I fit compression stockings, sleeves etc post surgical procedures every day, I may be the only compression stocking nurse/consultant for a very large city and outer towns as far as I’m aware. This includes custom made sleeves for arms, post breast cancer, mastectomy, lymph node clearance etc.

    Blood clots are obviously life threatening, compression garments are part of the recovery of deep vein thrombosis. If she has to wear compression garments, she might as well look great at the same time.

    We do what we have to do to get on with our lives.

    • IlsaLund says:

      Serena said “the full-length, skintight outfit is designed to protect against blood clots.”

  36. Lala says:

    I’ve nearly died from DVT twice…so I OVERSTAND the beauty and the function of compression materials…they can save your LIFE! And working in healthcare I’m always AMAZED at what they can do with materials that LOOK hot…but are so breathable that it feels as though you’re wearing nothing! I think she looks FAB!

  37. Catherine says:

    THE CAT SUIT WAS BADASS POWER BOSS MOVE. FULL STOP.

  38. Jessica says:

    It was specifically designed for her by scientists, engineers, and seamstresses. She’s fine. She clearly needs leg, bust, butt, and waist support.

  39. mela says:

    serena could wear a paper bag and still be a BOSS

    i wear full jumpsuits for my own sport and this is a nice suit and looks very light

    to be quit honest, i’ve never understand how they play tennis with their butt hanging out of those frilly skirts seems like a distraction

  40. mela says:

    The only thing I would change would be to move the seam that goes across her belly, down across the lower hips, beneath a woman’s pooch spot and maybe even add some dark grey fabric (or the color of her belt!!!) for contrast like in the inner thigh / crotch panel and side panels

  41. Naddie says:

    The last pic really screams “super hero”. Powerful!

  42. KLO says:

    Serena looks fab in that outfit. End of.

    I just hope it was not too hot in the black thing :D

    But yeah, she is hot in other ways anyway so whatever ;)

  43. supersoft says:

    If this isnt the cutest baby ever, i dont know. So adorable. And i like her suit.

  44. M.A.F. says:

    In this day-in-age, I find it stupid for women to be wearing skirts or getting dolled up while playing a sports (for some sports, the make-up & hair is part of the score). Hopefully, this will set a new trend for (some) women sports- catsuits and/or shorts.

    But the all black is killing me. I would be burning up but then again, I’m not sure how an all-white catsuit would look.

  45. Blonde555 says:

    Love Serena and her baby is the most gorgeous little girl ever.

  46. Evie says:

    Serena is amazing and so cut! She can wear whatever she likes. I’m jealous — wish I looked half as good as her on my best day, LOL!

  47. Doc says:

    The match was a battle of the titans, but I was rooting for Serena the whole time and was happy she won. The suit looked like it definitely had a function and the way she played and how she’s getting on with her life post baby and post surgery is awe-inspiring.

    I look forward to the day when all our clothes fulfill a function and the aesthetics of them are derived from that, rather than some stiff magazine trend-setting.

    Also, would we ask a man what he was wearing in sports? There are some garments that are pretty out there as far as appearance goes, but we assume it’s functional and focus on the players ability. *sigh* we still have a long way to go my fellow feminists.

  48. Ashley says:

    I’m not as into wearing skirts and dresses. I think Serena looks fantastic in the catsuit. It’s a different look for a phenomenal tennis player.

  49. Darlene says:

    I love it. She looks amazing and powerful.

  50. Gigi LaMoore says:

    How should we feel about it? She’s wearing it so obviously she likes it. I think Nike is making her what she wants to wear.

  51. Bread and Circuses says:

    Her baby is so cute!