Serena Williams has decoded the inspiration behind her striking one-legged catsuit at the 2021 Australian Open. In her first match on Monday, the 39-year-old champion paid homage to Olympic track champion Florence Griffith Joyner. Popularly known as ‘Flo-Jo’, the late sprint queen was popular for her bold on field-style, flamboyant outfits and colourful fingernails. Williams explained her attire was a throwback and a tribute to one of her childhood heroes. The eye-catching single-legged leotard donned by Williams is an asymmetric black, pink and red unitard featuring one full-length and one bike-short length leg.
In her post-match interview, Williams credited Nike as the brainchild behind the idea of channeling FloJo. She described her performance on court as “vintage Rena” and spoke of her admiration for the late athlete. Williams told in a press conference that FloJo was a wonderful track athlete whom she looked up to while growing up, watching her always changing fashion and her simply amazing outfits. This year, they brainstormed on elevating the Williams on the court. She said it was Nike’s team who came up with the idea to tap FloJo for inspiration. Williams was stunned and thought that it was brilliant. After some tweaks, she liked and debuted in the stunning new catsuit outfit.
"This year we thought of what can we do to keep elevating the Serena Williams on the court." The story behind @serenawilliams's #AO2021 outfit 🙌 #AusOpen pic.twitter.com/xpN288AXsp — #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) February 8, 2021
Williams sure made a bold start to her Australian Open campaign after she stripped off in a dramatically understated fashion to reveal her new look. Before she defeated Germany’s Laura Siegemund, she walked out onto the court in a black jacket to burst out the ensemble. She made a strong statement taking off the layers beneath ahead of the official warm up.
The American began her bid for a 24th major singles title in Melbourne. She cruised in Round 2 with a 6-1 6-1 win at Rod Laver Arena. Williams notched a winning return to Grand Slam Tennis to open her Australian Open campaign.
Griffith Joyner was a Black American athlete who still holds the Olympic records for the 100 and 200 metres set in 1988. The track legend remains the world’s fastest woman in history, 20 years after her death. Before, Beyonce had also paid fashion homage to Joyner in 2018. The singer wore a single-legged maroon leotard during a tribute to Black athletics stars at Halloween.