Venus Williams is the star of Wimbledon 2011 this morning, after winning her Court Two match against Uzbekistan's Akgul Amanmuradova in London. It was an exciting and proud moment for the 31-year-old who has been kept down by an abdominal injury in recent months.
Too bad her fabulous game is getting overshadowed by all the buzz about her "fashion disaster" outfit. Although it was entirely white and fitting with Wimbledon tradition, Venus's jumpsuit had a huge slit in the back and was short enough to reveal her golden yellow shorts underneath. That's apparently reason enough for the Daily Mail to call it "ghastly" and for various other news sources to decry it as a fashion faux pas.
There are a ton of reasons why the focus is more on what Venus wore than how she played (Wimbledon is steeped in preppy tradition? She was wearing her own fashion line, EleVen, so in a way she brought the attention on herself with her own cross-promo?), but I can't help but think it mostly has to do with Venus as a female athlete.
I guess there have been male athletes in the past who have shook things up by looking unconventional on the court. Take Dennis Rodman, for instance, with his crazy hair and wild tats. But hmm, there's usually little comment on any male athlete's fashion choices.
And yes, the Williams sisters are known for their fashion picks and faux pas. (Anyone remember Serena's Hot Pink Leotard-gate a couple months back?) It even seems like they welcome the attention, because plenty of people think what they wear is fabulous and would be willing to shell out to buy something similar. More power to them for that!
But when it comes to a win at a tournament like Wimbledon, I don't think Williams' intention was for the attention to be on what she wears; she just wanted to be comfortable and have fun with her outfit. She explained to the AFP:
It's just a trendy dress. I'm really into zippers, so it has a focal point of a zipper in the front. It's just fun. The back, I don't know what you call it, it's like a cutout or like a peek a boo. I'm always trying to do something different and fun.
But there's no doubt she takes tennis seriously -- so why can't we? It just seems trivial and petty to pick any of her or her sister Serena's outfits apart.
And honestly, I don't see what the big deal was with her jumper. It looks perfectly respectable and comfortable. As for showing off the shorts underneath, doesn't that happen to every tennis player at some point -- whether they wear something like this or something more traditional? These tennis fashion critics need to take a chill pill and let the woman do her job and win.
What do you think about Serena's outfit ... and does it matter?
Image via Julian Finney/Getty