2018 has been a year, to say the least, but a recent development on the Serena Williams catsuit drama is helping us end the year on a high note.
On Tuesday, the Women’s Tennis Association announced that they were making several changes for 2019. Among these included a statement addressing the attire worn by players, in particular compression shorts and leggings. The document reads, “Leggings and mid-thigh-length compression shorts may be worn with or without a skirt, shorts or dress.”
WTA rule changes for 2019
• # of tourneys using SR moved from 8 to 12
• Rules introduced for SR related to pregnancy
• Main draw singles players who withdraw b/w start of qualies & their R1 match, eligible to receive 100% of R1 💰
• Leggings/compression shorts may now be worn pic.twitter.com/nPrk7KYyC2
— Parsa (@Parsa_Nemati) December 12, 2018
This change comes just months after Serena was called out by the president of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, for wearing a tight, full-length bodysuit. Commenting on Williams’ outfit, Giudicelli told Tennis magazine, “It will no longer be accepted. I think sometimes we’ve gone too far. One must respect the game and place.”
Not only does lifting the ban on this kind of apparel mean that women have more power over their bodies and what they put on their bodies (it’s about time…), it can also help women dealing with certain medical issues. For Williams, her choice to wear a tight bodysuit was partly because of her health issues. After giving birth to her daughter Olympia in 2017, Williams shared that she had complications with blood clots. To promote blood circulation and to help prevent the development of more clots from forming, she wears compression leggings. The decision to allow these types of garments on the court is a huge step forward.
Catsuit anyone? 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!! pic.twitter.com/xXb3BKDGNF
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) May 29, 2018
Another change that the WTA made that stood out was their protection for players returning from maternity leave. The Telegraph sums up, “Players returning from maternity leave will now be able to use their previous ranking to enter 12 tournaments over a three-year period. This ruling also applies to those returning from a long-term injury.”
Tennis fan or not, there’s no denying that these changes, while much overdue, are major. Bring on the catsuits for 2019!