Serena Williams is officially back! The 23-time Grand Slam champion took the court at the 2018 French Open on Tuesday, May 29, for her first major appearance since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia last September wearing a Black Panther-inspired Nike catsuit that had the most empowering message behind it.
A mix of form, function and serious girl power, Serena shared in a post-match (she turned in a straight-set win against her opponent) Instagram post that the fierce ensemble is “for all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy— here you go. If I can do it, so can you. Love you all!!”
After winning the 2017 Australian Open while secretly pregnant, Serena took the rest of the season off and welcomed her baby girl with now-husband Alexis Ohanian on September 1. Days later, she began experiencing life-threatening complications related to a pulmonary embolism that left her bedridden for six weeks. But the GOAT has emerged stronger and more determined than ever.
In addition to showing off her insanely fit physique, the full-length black bodysuit is designed to help protect against blood cots and serve up (no pun intended) serious superhero vibes.
“I call it, like, my Wakanda-inspired catsuit,” she said in an on-court interview in reference to the fictional nation in the record-shattering Marvel flick. “It feels like this suit represents all the women that have been through a lot mentally, physically, with their body to come back and have confidence and to believe in themselves.”
While the outfit was designed before the movie came out, Serena admitted it makes her feel like a “warrior princess” and is her “way of being a superhero.” And let Us not forget that this is not the first time the pro has rocked a catsuit on the court. At the 2002 US Open, the then-20-year-old wore a short black Puma catsuit with bubblegum pink accessories.
She referred to Tuesday’s updated edition as the “catsuit — the new version, 2.0,” and she hopes her performance in this tournament will empower anyone going through a tough time. “I definitely feel like it is an opportunity for me to inspire a whole different group of amazing women and kids,” she said.