Serena Williams wore a black, ruffled tutu on the court at the US Open on Monday night in her first match of the tournament against Magda Linette of Poland, which Williams won in straight sets, 6-4, 6-0.
The 17th seeded Williams ditched the controversial black catsuit that she wore in her matches at the 2018 French Open, earlier this summer.
While fans and the media praised the catsuit look, French Tennis Federation (FTF) president Bernard Giudicelli said in a Tennis Magazine interview published last week that it won’t be back.
“I think we sometimes went too far,” he said. “Serena’s outfit this year, for example, would no longer be accepted. You have to respect the game and the place.”
Williams said to reporters that the decision was "not a big deal" and that “the Grand Slams have the right to do what they want to do".
"If they ( know that some things are for health reasons then there's no way that they wouldn't be ok with it," she added.
After the match, the new mum said the suit was functional and helped with blood clots she developed after giving birth.
Some critics said that they thought the president was "body shaming" the Grand Slam champion, others accused him of bizarrely policing her attire.
On social media, where the designer tutu was a hit with fans, people applauded Williams for continuing to wear what she wants.
The outfit was created for Nike’s new “Queen” collection by Virgil Abloh, who designs for fashion house Louis Vuitton
“Serena Williams was told she wasn’t allowed to wear her Black Panther catsuit back to the French Open because she had to ‘respect the game’. So she showed up in a tutu,” one person wrote.
According to Williams, who discussed her US Open dress with Vogue magazine, her newest outfit choice made her feel “very strong and feminine".
“I felt so feminine in the tutu, which is probably my favourite part of it. It really embodies what I always say: that you can be strong and beautiful at the same time,” she said.
Nike matched the powerful statement with an Instagram post of the brand ambassador wearing the contentious suit and a caption: “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.”