Billie Jean King defends Serena Williams' 'catsuit' after French Open reveals new dress code

Serena Williams (Getty Images)

Tennis legend Billie Jean King came to the defense of Serena Williams after the French Open announced a new dress code for the tournament, which bans Williams from wearing the tight black suit she wore in May.

King wrote on Twitter: “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.”

French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli said Williams, along with other players, will need to dress more conservatively at Roland Garros going forward.

“I believe we have sometimes gone too far,” Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine (via The Independent). “Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.”

Williams previously said the outfit was designed to protect against blood clots, which she has struggled with after giving birth to her daughter. She addressed Giudicelli’s comments during a press conference ahead of the U.S. Open, saying, “Everything’s fine.” 

“I think that obviously the grand slams have a right to do what they want to do,” Williams said Saturday. “I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be okay with it. I think it’s fine.”