Over a career which stretched to more than a quarter of a century, Serena Williams’s on-court outfits were often as eye-catching as her tennis.
AFP Sport looks at 10 of the best worn by the 23-time Grand Slam title winner:
2002 – Catsuit, not wet suit
When Williams won her second US Open in 2002, she did it dressed in a Lycra catsuit.
It dominated large parts of her opening round press conference where some reporters were bemused.
“Great outfit. Does it come with flippers, mask and snorkel?”
“Of course not,” fired back the American. “This is more of a cat suit. It’s not a wet suit. A wet suit has long sleeves and it’s usually longer and thicker material.
“This is made of Lycra. It’s supposed to have the illusion of looking a little bit like leather from a distance. But it’s made of Lycra because it kind of sticks to the body. It kind of really sticks to what type of shape you have. If you don’t have a decent shape, this isn’t the best outfit to have.”
2004 – In the Paris pink
Williams appeared at Roland Garros in a bright pink two-piece outfit designed by Nike.
Her headband was emblazoned with the letter ‘S’ while her crop-top revealed a belly button stud.
2004 – Biker girl in black leather
— Williams’s initial dilemma was whether or not she would be allowed to play at the US Open in knee-high boots rather than tennis shoes.
“You can wear them while you’re playing, I’m sure,” she said before removing them.
“It’s like a rebel-look, when I’m being really rebellious. I’m just doing things different with the black and the studs. I’m just being a rebel. So maybe I would start out with something like, ‘Serena’s going rebel without a cause’.”
2008 – Game, set, mac!
Serena lost the 2008 Wimbledon final to sister Venus but made a statement when she arrived on Centre Court at the start of the tournament wearing a white trench coat.
“I don’t think it’s going to keep the rain away but we can always hope. I absolutely love trench coats,” she explained.
Britain’s Daily Express captioned the moment: ‘Game, Set and Mac, Miss Williams.’
2014 – Leopard print curve ball
Pink leopard print for day matches, black for the night at the 2008 US Open. Nike called it: “The fierce Nike Serena Dress.”
Fellow player Elena Vesnina told USA Today: “She’s trying to show her curves. That’s a good thing — you’re showing the best part of your body and you’re covering some kind of things that you don’t want to show. Serena looks really good in it.”
2018 – Superhero and a warrior?
One of her most controversial outfits was her black catsuit unveiled at Roland Garros.
“I feel like a warrior in it, a warrior princess from Wakanda,” said Serena, in reference to the hit movie, Black Panther. “I’ve always wanted to be a superhero.”
The French Open, however, took a dim view and banned it at future events with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli insisting: “One must respect the game and the place.”
2018 – Tennis in a tutu
After the French Open ban, the American appeared at Flushing Meadows in a black tutu dress. The top of the costume had one long sleeve while the right-hand side was sleeveless.
“It’s easy to play in. Kind of aerodynamic with the one arm free. It feels really good. Yeah, the tutu is easy to play in because I practiced in it before. That was fun,” she said.
2021 – Salute to Flo Jo
At Melbourne Park, the American wore a brightly-coloured red, pink and black one-piece outfit with just the right leg covered.
It was, she said, a tribute to late US sprinter Florence Griffith Joyner.
“FloJo was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete when I was growing up. Well, watching her fashion, just always changing, her outfits were always amazing,” explained Williams.
2021 – Train of thought at Wimbledon
Williams appeared on court with a removable white train.
Her fashion statement, however, was quickly forgotten when she was forced to retire from her first round match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich with a right leg injury after just six games.
“Feeling the extraordinary warmth and support of the crowd today when I walked on — and off — the court meant the world to me,” she said in a statement.
2022 – Diamond life in New York
For her final bow at the US Open, Williams’s outfit caught the eye, a skirt designed with six layers — one tier for every US Open title she has won — and a diamond-encrusted bodice.
“It is a dress made for a supernova’s farewell,” said The New York Times.
Williams later revealed she had adapted the dress on the fly.
“I have six layers to represent the six wins but I took four out because it was too heavy,” she said.
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