Serena Williams storms the Australian Open in amazing 80s-inspired catsuit

Serena Williams at the Australian Open

It’s only the first round of the Australian Open, but if you ask us, Serena Williams has already won the competition.

The 39-year-old tennis star won her first match against Germany’s Laura Siegemund in straight sets, and we couldn’t take our eyes off her outfit: a brightly coloured, geometric, one-legged leotard.

Williams collaborated with Nike for the look (Rick Rycroft/AP)

Williams is no stranger to bold on-court fashion choices – previous outfits include tutus and leather biker-inspired looks – but this is certainly one of her more impactful outfits, and is a far cry from traditional tennis whites.

She has a long-time partnership with Nike, and this skintight jumpsuit has one black leg, red and pink panels, and blue accents, all topped off with a blue sweatband. It’s an unusual silhouette for the tennis court, and plays around with clashing colours, making it quite a modern take on Eighties prints.

The one-legged style was inspired by athlete Florence Griffith Joyner (Rick Rycroft/AP)

In a post-match press conference, Williams said: “I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete, [when I was] growing up.

“Watching her fashion, just always changing. Her outfits were always amazing and so this year we thought what can we do to keep elevating the Serena Williams on the court? The Nike team actually thought of this design of inspiration from Flo-Jo, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, this is brilliant, so brilliant’.”

Florence Griffith Joyner – aka Flo-Jo – was an American track and field athlete who set the current world records for the women’s 100m and 200m sprints in the 1980s. She was known for her daring fashion sense – Joyner’s nails were often long and bedazzled, and she would race in a brightly coloured one-legged leotard called the ‘one-legger’.

Williams’ catsuits haven’t always gone down well. She wore a black leotard to play in the 2018 French Open soon after giving birth, saying it made her feel like a “warrior” and a “superhero”, while also helping with postpartum blood clots.

However, the style was soon banned, with French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli telling Tennis Magazine’s 500th edition: “I think we sometimes went too far. The combination of Serena this year, for example, it will no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.”

Florence Griffith-Joyner racing in a hooded outfit in 1987 (S&G/S&G and Barratts/EMPICS Sport/PA)

However, there seems to be few complaints about Williams’ Australian Open outfit. Her husband Alexis Ohanian wrote on Twitter: “Serving all the things,” and Williams’ coach Patrick Mouratoglou tweeted: “I think that @serenawilliams outfit is great, but what I like even more is her performance.”

If this is just the first round, we can’t wait to see what Williams wears throughout the rest of the competition.


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