She continues to win and remains one of the greatest tennis players in the world, but Venus Williams is getting more press time for her tennis fashion than her playing ability these days. For instance, her body-fitting outfit at the U. S. Open has garnered her considerable media attention, while the fact that she won and has advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals has all but become a footnote. Huffington Post and other media outlets are quick to push the visual imagery, considering that pictures provide a great audience hook, and pictures of sports celebrities dressed provocatively — even while competing — are no exception. But dressing provocatively seems to be be Venus Williams’ greatest claim to fame of late.
She’s still a winner more often as not and is not to be considered lightly, but what is lacking in her game (and what is not when compared to Serena Williams, her sister) seems to be made up for in skimpy or outlandish attire that distracts from the game overall and Venus Williams ability to play it well in particular.
She explained afterward that her U. S. Open outfit was meant to symbolize New York, the design to imitate fireworks.
The pink top was body-hugging, the shorts skin-tight. And before long, the cuffs of the shorts had ridden up to the point that she looked as if she had on a bikini or unitard.
But it is doubtful anyone will think it her worst outfit to date. It isn’t as fashionably atrocious as her French Open outfit, nor is it as eye-catchingly risque as her Australian Open tennis ensemble, which included flesh-colored shorts that had many guessing whether or not she had even bothered to don underwear for the event.
The French Open tennis outfit could have been put together by a wayward child. A black frilly number, more lingerie than tennis attire, Venus Williams looked like a tattoo-less Dennis Rodman in drag on the court, running around in some grotesque ballet-tennis hybrid farce. Williams advanced to the 4th Round of the French Open — not that anyone noticed. But by the tournament’s end, they were still talking about that outfit.
In fact, the U. S. Open outfit acted as a reminder of the egregrious tennis fashion faux pas — and it will be remembered long after the winners’ names are forgotten (if they haven’t been already).
But neither the U. S. Open skimp-set nor the French Open can-can (?) number surpasses Venus Williams worst fashion blunder ever at the Australian Open. Sure, wearing flesh-colored underwear might be a great idea if your tunic or top isn’t flying into the air around you, but even with hundreds of pictures taken, many could not discern whether or not Williams was playing commando-style. The pictures and the ensemble took over much of the sporting news for several days as millions scoured the Internet to see the scandalous shots. And although many remember those pictures and Venus Williams’ attire, there are few who remember who won the tournament. (Serena, Venus’ sister, won; Venus Williams was defeated in the quarterfinals).
Some might point to the attention-grabbing outfits as a compensatoty maneuver for the attention her sister gets for dominating the sport. Some note that they could be a distraction to the opposing players, their non-traditional stylings and colors working to put the opponent off their game. Some point out that Venus Williams’ outfits may simply be a reflection of someone more imaginative and unconstrained by tradition, willing to test the boundaries of the profession.
And although many decry her fashion sense and her non-traditional garb, she has broken no rules. Some even find it refreshing, giving the game some spice and color. Still, some wonder how far the ranked tennis pro will go with her pushing of the conventional envelope. At least she hasn’t stepped onto the court in a thong and pasties…yet…
Pictures of Venus Williams in her pink outfit at the U. S. Open.
Pictures of Venus Williams in her lacy black outfit at the French Open.
Pictures of Venus Williams in her bare-down-under-looking outfit at the Australian Open.