Serena Williams's Most Controversial and Iconic Tennis Outfits of All Time

As both a fashion editor and tennis player, nothing brings me more joy than commenting on tennis outfits. Serena Williams is not only the GOAT because of her on-court skills, but also her fun, daring, and inventive tennis outfits. If there was any doubt about her fashion relevance, she broke the news of her retirement on the oh-so-coveted cover of the September issue of Vogue. 

"I'm torn: I don't want it to be over, but at the same time I'm ready for what's next," Serena wrote in a letter published in Vogue. "I don't know how I'm going to be able to look at this magazine when it comes out, knowing that this is it, the end of a story that started in Compton, California, with a little Black girl who just wanted to play tennis." To honor the Greatest of All Time, I've rounded up some of her most iconic and controversial outfits of all time. 


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This is the infamous catsuit from the 2018 French Open. The president of the French Tennis Federation criticized this outfit, saying, "sometimes we've gone too far" and looks like this will "no longer be accepted" at the tournament because it wasn't "respectful to the game." Of course, this was actually designed to help prevent blood clots and Serena pulled it off with aplomb as usual. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serena collaborated with the late Virgil Abloh and his brand Off-White on this adorable tutu outfit for the 2018 U.S. Open. Sadly, Abloh passed away last year at the age of 41. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serena also wore a black version of the Off-White tutu for night matches at the U.S. Open that year. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serena warmed up during the 2004 U.S. Open wearing these head-turning patent boots, but she didn't actually compete in them. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Serena loves to subvert expectations. Case in point: This denim pleated skirt in 2004. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

This outfit is peak early-2000s style thanks to these short shorts and belt. This is from a 2003 match in Italy. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

I love this silver corset design from Miami in 2004. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

This is what Serena wore when she won her first-ever Grand Slam title, the 1999 U.S. Open, at the age of 17. 


(Image credit: Getty Images)

Queen Serena won the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant wearing this Nike outfit. 

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Associate Director, Fashion News

Erin got her start as a Who What Wear intern over 13 years ago—back when the site only published a single story per day. (Who What Wear has since increased that number twentyfold.) She graduated magna cum laude from USC, which is how she ended up moving to Los Angeles from her hometown of San Diego. In college, she also interned at Refinery29, where she was promoted to editorial assistant and then assistant editor. After nearly three years at R29, she came back to WWW in 2016, where she currently holds the title of Associate Director of Fashion News (as well as the unofficial title of resident royal expert—in case you haven't noticed her numerous Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton stories). She spends her days trying to incorporate her idols, Anna Wintour and Roger Federer, into as many stories as possible. Outside of work, she loves tennis, classic rock, traveling, and smothering her dog with affection.