As Australia sizzles, 'Serena-tard' clashes with tennis dress code

Updated: Jan 16, 2019, 03:24 PM(IST)

Serena Williams wore a '90s-inspired Australian Open uniform in Australian Open and attracted some attention. 

Aus Open famous for being plagued by heat-waves

The 107th edition of the Australian Open is underway where scorching heat has become the greatest challenges for the players. The is scheduled from 14 to 27 January 2019. 

Australian towns were among the hottest places on Earth this week as a severe heat wave hit the continent's southeast, with forecasters warning of more record-breaking temperatures before the weekend.

Days, after the tournament started, were among the country's top 10 warmest on record, with temperatures nearing 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit) in some spots, the Bureau of Meteorology said. 

The Australian Open is renowned for being plagued by heat-waves and for tournament organisers' much-criticised reluctance to suspend matches despite extreme conditions.

Where once the tournament referee pointed to a mysterious 'wet bulb index' to justify keeping players and fans frying in the sun on 40 degrees Celsius (104°F) days, organisers will this year use a new "Heat Stress Scale".

Players may need a degree in thermodynamics to understand the calculations behind it but the policy at least provides some clarity as to when matches should be suspended and roofs closed on the main showcourts.

Men will also now join women in being permitted breaks during extreme heat, but only after sweating it out for three sets. This is Australia, after all. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Blazing heat leads to unusual and colourfull dress selection

Australian Open has no restrictions when it comes to what to wear on the court but players are forced to choose dresses to beat the heat. 

Serena Williams wore a '90s-inspired Australian Open uniform in the ongoing event. 

On the opening day of play, American Bethanie Mattek-Sands wore a sheer floral outfit and attracted some attention.

While Rafael Nadal received positive comments on social media for his sleeveless look. 

(Photograph:AFP)

'Serena-tard' at Australian Open

Serena Williams unveiled her latest on-court fashion statement at the Australian Open, and helpfully ended any confusion about what to call the striking garment.

Some suggested it was a onesie, others said it resembled a romper suit, but for the item's famous creator there could be only one name.

"It's a Serena-tard," Williams told reporters when quizzed about her latest look.

Made of jade-green lycra with a black-and-white waistband, the skin-tight outfit looks like a pair of disco-era hotpants attached to a builder's singlet.

Williams matched it with fishnet stockings, which she explained were a health measure designed to avoid deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).

Williams almost died in 2017 when blood clots formed in her lungs after she gave birth to her first child, daughter Olympia.

She said she still lived in fear of the condition returning and wore compression tights to help stop clots forming.

"(I'm) definitely still concerned. I have had some issues and they're not done. So it's just something I just have to do for pretty much probably the rest of my career," she said.

"But I'm always at the doctor. With DVTs, it's very scary. I know a lot of people -- they're very common. A lot of people have them. Especially for me it's incredibly frightening."

Williams is renowned for her on-court outfits, including a body-hugging black catsuit at last year's French Open that caused controversy when organisers said she would not be able to wear it this year.

(Photograph:AFP)

Wimbledon is stricter

Serena hit the headlines once again with her attire at the Australian Open. Although the Australian Open allows women players to wear coloured clothes but Wimbledon is especially strict as far as the code of conduct for women is concerned. 

According to Wimbledon rules, "shorts, skirts, and tracksuit bottoms must be totally white except for a single trim of colour down the outside seam no wider than one centimetre."

Other rules say: "competitors must be dressed in suitable tennis attire that is almost entirely white, white does not include off white or cream."

It states further that "the back of a shirt, dress, tracksuit top or sweater must be totally white."

"Any undergarments that either are or can be visible during play (including due to perspiration) must also be completely white except for a single trim of colour no wider than one centimetre (10mm). In addition, common standards of decency are required at all times."

The Wimbledon code even has a rule for medical equipment, it says: "medical supports and equipment should be white if possible but may be coloured if absolutely necessary."

(Photograph:AFP)

Roland-Garros changes dress policy

After Serena wore the famous "catsuit" at the French Open, French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli had said last year that the tournament will put in place stricter measures by introducing "more restrictive dress code moving forward."

"I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far” and “[the catsuit] will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place," the president had said. 

Williams is renowned for her on-court outfits, including a body-hugging black catsuit at last year's French Open that caused controversy when organisers said she would not be able to wear it this year. 

(Photograph:AFP)

US Open dress controversy

There isn't such dress code at the US Open but in the previous edition of the Slam was battling accusations of sexism when an umpire sanctioned French player Alize Cornet for removing her shirt on the court. 

The 28-year-old was handed a code violation for "unsportsmanlike conduct" when she took off her shirt on the court after realising she had put it on back-to-front while in the locker room during a 10-minute heat break.

Former world number one and two-time major winner Victoria Azarenka said there remain serious issues over how men and women are treated on tour.

"There is always a double standard for men and women," she said. 

Many on social media were quick to point out that just a few hours after the Cornet incident, Novak Djokovic sat courtside on Arthur Ashe Stadium with his shirt removed and with an ice towel draped around his shoulders. 

(Photograph:AFP)

Not only tennis, Cricket too is affected by heat

In the state's capital Adelaide, where cycling's Tour Down Under and the cricket One Day International between Australia and India were being held, athletes sweltered through a maximum temperature of 41.9 degree Celsius.

Overnight temperatures were also set to remain high, before a rapid change to cooler conditions from late Thursday when a cold front currently over the Southern Ocean sweeps across southern Australia, Perkins said.

"Everything's sort of a bit of a pressure cooker at the moment, and everything's getting hotter and more humid and we're all doing a slow clap waiting for this change to come through," he added.

(Photograph:AFP)

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