Serena Williams Honors Olympic Great Florence Griffith Joyner in One-Leg Catsuit at Australian Open
Serena Williams never fails to deliver some standout style moments both on and off the tennis court. So it was no surprise to see the tennis superstar come out in full fashion force to kick off the Australian Open on Feb. 8.
On the first day of the tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Williams, 39, took home a win against's Germany's Laura Siegemund, beating her 6-1, 6-1, according to ESPN. But her expert skills weren't the only thing catching fans' eyes during the match. Fans immediately fawned over the tennis champion's color-block, asymmetric, one-legged catsuit, which was worn as a tribute to the late great track star Florence Griffith Joyner.
"I was inspired by Flo-Jo, who was a wonderful track athlete, amazing athlete when I was growing up," Williams said after the match, according to ESPN. "Watching her fashion, just always changing, her outfits were always amazing."
"This year we thought of 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. I was like, 'Oh, my god, this is so brilliant,'" she continued.
Griffith Joyner represented the United States on the Olympic track and field team in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. She took home the gold medal in the 100 m, 200 m and 4x100 m races at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, where she famously ran in one-legged catsuits.
"The one-legger was by accident," Griffith Joyner said in a 1988 interview with NBC. "It was a two-legger, originally. I was in the mirror, and I cut off one leg, and I liked how it looked. So I took a pair of my briefs, and I put it over the top of the one leg. And I said, well that looks good, I'll try that."
Williams is no stranger to making waves on the tennis court through her fashion choices.
In May 2018, Williams stepped out in a skin-tight black Nike catsuit to make her return to the game following a 14-month hiatus after the birth of her daughter at the French Open that she said made her feel like a "queen from Wakanda." But the French Tennis Federation didn't approve.
According to the Associated Press, the French Tennis Federation decided to introduce a new dress code for future tournaments after Williams wore the skin-tight full-length bodysuit.
"I think that sometimes we've gone too far," French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli explained to the Associated Press in reference to Williams' catsuit.
However, Williams didn't just wear the catsuit in the name of fashion. She selected it for health reasons too. Following the birth of daughter Alexis Olympia in Sept. 2017, Williams suffered "a lot of problems with blood clots."
"God I don't know how many I've had in the past 12 months," Williams explained at a news conference in May, according to NPR. "I've been wearing pants in general a lot when I play so I can keep the blood circulation going."
Tune in to Tennis Channel to catch the Australian Open Starting February 8th through February 21st.