Many in the tennis world are calling out the French Open for what they see as an unforced error in a preemptive dress code that would ban Serena Williams’s catsuit.
Though the form-hugging outfit, inspired by the movie Black Panther, caused controversy on the circuit this year, it actually has a health benefit: minimizing the potential for blood clots that plagued Williams during her pregnancy.
The uproar was sparked by a Tennis Magazine interview with French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli who said the dress code is being mulled because, “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.” He specifically pointed to Williams’s catsuit as an example.
But those comments inspired many across social media to return serve on what some interpreted as a possibly sexist or racist decision. Hall of Famer Andy Roddick tweeted, “This is so dumb and shortsighted it hurts.”
Fellow tennis icon Billie Jean King was even more pointed:
The policing of women’s bodies must end. The “respect” that’s needed is for the exceptional talent @serenawilliams brings to the game. Criticizing what she wears to work is where the true disrespect lies. https://t.co/ioyP9VTCxM
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) August 25, 2018
Oddly, the person who took the ban the least personally — was Serena herself. “Guys, it’s fine,” she tweeted.