Venus Williams is my favorite tennis player. Male or female. I like her sister, Serena, too, but not as much as Venus. I’ve followed her since the moment she burst onto the scene, which by now seems like forever ago. My first memory of Venus is closely associated with her father, Richard Williams, who exposed his now-famous daughters early and often to the world of tennis. Richard is somewhat of a controversial figure, often accused of having been too involved in the careers of his daughters. Of late, however, he’s been far removed from their spotlight. Both sisters garner plenty of it with their fine play alone. And, sometimes even with the outfits which accompany that fine play.
Until recently, I considered Serena to be the leader in the controversial outfit department. But lately, Venus has stepped up her game. Her wardrobe choices have been the talk of this year’s Australian Open. And after I saw what she wore in her second-round match, I just had to chime in.
Meredith has already touched upon Venus William’s outfits before when she debated whether or not the tennis star was a trend setter or a bad example. I suppose everyone has to make up his or her own mind on that one. The following 5 things will tell you what my take is.
1. Venus’ outfits? I love them. Risqué? Maybe. But I don’t care. Both the blue minidress she wore in the first round, as well as the yellow open-weave top she wore in the second round drew attention to both her power and her beauty.
2. Venus is pushing boundaries. And that’s a good thing. Remember that black can-can-looking outfit she wore at the French Open? The one with lace and red trim? It drew whistles from the crowd as she walked out. Reporters wondered what she was thinking. After the match, Williams told them. “Lace has never been done before in tennis and I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time.”
3. Which brings me to my next point. Pushing boundaries is empowering. While reporters were shocked that a player would choose to wear something which elicited what some would describe as “cat calls” from the crowd, Venus made it clear that she was less concerned about what others thought and more concerned about doing the things she truly wants to do.
4. Yet, every upside has its downside. And whether well-founded or not, one downside to Venus’ stunning outfits is that people are talking more about them than the fact she’s made it to the third round of the first major of the year. Despite a pesky groin injury. And that’s the only reason why I might consider toning it down if I were Venus — if I felt I wasn’t getting the respect I deserved as an elite player in my sport. But if she’s good with the buzz surrounding the outfits, then who am I to question what she wears? Besides, as I already mentioned, I love her outfits.
5. Some criticize her for her wardrobe and worry that impressionable young girls might see the style and gloss over the substance. But I don’t buy it. Say what you want about Venus’ duds, but she’s been consistently getting it done on the tennis courts for 15 years now. I see her as a positive role model for my daughter: proof that you can be both a world-class athlete and a fashion-conscious woman at the same time. And a beautiful one at that.
Venus? I hope you win this damn thing. Because I want to continue to watch your play. Regardless of what you chose to wear.