MELBOURNE: Serena Williams’ statements on gender and race echoed across Melbourne Park in much the fashion her form and strokes did, on another blazing hot day at the Australian Open.
Williams wasn’t quite the friendly neighbour in her opening round match against the 31-year-old Ger man, who lives across the street from her Palm Beach Garden address. Tatjana Maria, the mother of 5-year-old Charlotte, fell 0-6, 2-6. Her challenge ended in tears as she was embraced at the net by the American superstar, who set up a second-round meeting with Canada’s Eugenie Bouchard.
The 23-time major winner, whose last Grand Slam title came on these very courts two years ago, has an adventurous sense of style. She has worn tutu frocks and cropped tops and paired boardroom jackets with tennis gear, innovative and daring, much like her play.
On Tuesday, she arrived at the Rod Laver Arena in what looked like a mackintosh, black in colour and mid-thigh length. After warm-up she revealed the carefully concealed jade-green playsuit, that outlined her curves. The peak-a-boo back and waist-defining detail, lending to the accent. Williams 37, who has never shied away from showcasing her frame, has been even more forceful post pregnancy. The hip-hugging romper, which she paired with fishnet compression tights, which she sports for medical reasons, underlined her stance. This is me, my body. I’m a mother and champion athlete.
Typically, she called her ensemble ‘Serena-tard’. Williams said her outfit had been designed well in advance, maybe 18 months ago, and wasn’t necessarily styled to highlight her journey of the last 10 months.
She said, “I’ve been working really, really hard in the off-season to be incredibly fit and ready. I took a year off, still trying to get 12 months of playing under my belt.”
The world No.16, who was pregnant when she was last here in 2017, also made another statement, which while not as dramatic as her jade green number, was sealed with a determination that is intrinsically Williams.
She ensured her one-year-old daughter Olympia’s first doll was black. Qai Qai, a social media favourite, owning accounts and traveling the world, has even made an appearance in Melbourne Park. “I definitely want to always teach her love and teach her humans should always have love for each other no matter what color they are.”
In other first-round results, men’s world No.1 Novak Djokovic moved past American qualifier Mitchell Krueger fourth seed 6-3, 6-2, 6-2; Alexander Zverev put out Slovenia’s Aljaz Bedene 6-4, 6-1, 6-4; Aussie Nick Kyrgios hobbled out of the tournament with a shaky knee, bowing to Milos Raonic 4-6, 6-7 (5-7), 4-6.
Source: Times of India