Serena Williams' Black Panther Inspired Bodysuit Has Sparked a Controversy in Tennis

Serena Williams Catsuit
Serena Williams is recieving backlash from officials for choosing to wear a skin-tight bodysuit outfit. She said she wears it to prevent blood clots that developed after she gave birth. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

A controversy surrounding Serena Williams latest tennis outfit -- a black catsuit -- continued Saturday after French Tennis Federation President Bernard Giudicelli had cited it as the primary reason the French Open is introducing a new dress code next season.

On Twitter, Billie Jean King supported Williams. "The policing of women's bodies must end," she wrote. "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."

Another former tennis player, Chris Evert, applauded a user, ReignOfApril, who said "Serena is wearing this attire for medical reasons. Literally. But we all know this is not about the suit. It's about controlling the Black woman who has dominated this sport. And part of me wants her to pull out of the Open. For medical reasons. And to make a point."

Williams herself said that she had spoken to Giudicelli and that "everything's fine".

The specially designed custom suit was designed to protect against blood clots after American doctors revealed they found a hematoma in her body after she gave birth to her daughter Olympia, The Independent reported.

While at the French Open, Williams said she felt empowered in the outfit and felt "like a warrior princess." She also said the outfit doubled as "an opportunity to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids." Giudicelli, on the other hand, said the outfit was inappropriate.

"I believe we have sometimes gone too far," Giudicelli told Tennis Magazine on the eve of the U.S. Open, "Serena's outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place." No rules or specifics about the dress code were released to the public, but Giudicelli said it would not be similar to the Wimbledon dress code. Wimbledon tournaments require all players to wear white.

"It's a bit late because the collections are already designed but we are going to nonetheless ask the manufacturers to let us know what is coming," Giudicelli said about games in the future. Williams, who is returning to the game for the first time since birthing her child, wore the outfit once. At the U.S Open on Saturday morning, Williams said the issue had been resolved since it hit the newsstands.

"He's been so easy to talk to. My whole team is basically French, so, yeah, we have a wonderful relationship. I'm sure we would come to an understanding and everything will be okay. Yeah, so it wouldn't be a big deal," she said, according to ESPN. She said her circulation concerns could be addressed with other methods.

At Wimbledon, she wore white compression leggings. Since playing her first game following the birth of Olympia, Williams said, "I'm living a different life, you know, I'm playing the U.S. Open as a mom, and it's just new and it's fresh. If anything, I have more fire in my belly."