WOMEN
08/27/2018 02:54 am ET

Billie Jean King Tells French Open Officials To Stop 'Policing Women's Bodies'

Tennis legend calls French Open dictates about Serena Williams' clothing disrespectful.

Billie Jean King slammed French Open officials over the weekend for “policing women’s bodies” after they banned Serena Williams’ “catsuit” in tournament play.

French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli announced last week that the French Open was instituting a new dress code for players, and pointedly noted that Williams’ skintight black bodysuit would no longer be allowed even though it was fine to wear during this year’s tournament in May. 

Tennis legend Billie Jean King wants French tennis officials to "stop policing women's bodies."
PA Wire/PA Images
Tennis legend Billie Jean King wants French tennis officials to "stop policing women's bodies."

Williams shrugged off the controversial new edict, which will prohibit her from wearing the “Wakanda-inspired catsuit.” Williams, who wore the bodysuit as compression protection against blood clots, told The Guardian that it made her feel like a “warrior princess” from the film “Black Panther.” She almost died last year due to the clots as she gave birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia. 

Regardless of how Williams was handling the dress code change, King — and others — saw the ban as a much larger issue of men determining what women can wear. King, the grande dame of tennis in America, said it was disrespectful to criticize clothing choices made by a phenomenal tennis player like Williams:

Giudicelli singled out Williams’ bodysuit in an interview with Tennis Magazine.

“Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted,” he said. “One must respect the game and the place.”

No other specifics on the new dress code were revealed.

Fans said there was no rational reason for barring the suit:

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