Serena Williams’ Catsuit: A French Open Ban? Can It Prevent Blood Clots?


Serena Williams of the United States in action against Julia Goerges of Germany in the evening light on Court Suzanne Lenglen in the Women’s Singles Competition at the 2018 French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on June 2nd 2018 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

It may be OK for Wakanda. But apparently not for the French Open.

Tennis superstar Serena Williams wore what she described as the “Wakanda-inspired catsuit” during this year’s French Open, according to Jack Davies in an article for the Sporting News. But the President of the French Tennis Bernard Giudicelli does not seem to be a fan:

WTF? As in” What the French Open”? Respect for the game? It’s a catsuit. Not a clown’s suit.

Plus, Williams does have a legitimate argument when she suggested that the catsuit can help prevent blood clots, something that she struggled with after giving birth via a Cesarean section in September of last year. In a Vogue article written by Rob Haskell, Williams described how she had suffered a pulmonary embolism after her daughter Alexis Ohanian had been born. Blood clots, called deep vein thromboses, had formed in the veins in her legs. At least some of these clots had then broken off and traveled to her lungs, blocking the blood flow to her lungs. This was a medical emergency because if the blood flow was not quickly restored, her lung tissue would have begun to die. And you kind of need your lungs to breathe and live.

Her doctors placed her on blood thinners to help dissolve the clots and prevent the formation of new clots. But the blood thinners led to bleeding in her C-section site. The doctors had to deal with this bleeding as well as place a filter in one of her major veins to catch any clots before they could reach the lungs. This was not what you would have considered an “uncomplicated pregnancy.” However, after a long recovery period, Williams eventually returned to the tennis tour, reaching the fourth round of the French Open and the finals of Wimbledon this year, which is a good way to show respect for the game.

Besides taking blood thinners, a common way of preventing the formation of deep vein thromboses is to wear compression stockings around the legs. Compression stockings are tight and squeeze the legs, keeping the blood circulating so that clots are less likely to form. Clots tend to form when blood stands still.

A catsuit can be a bit like wearing compression stockings around your entire body, except your head of course, unless you want to look like a Ninja. Or Batman. Or the Black Panther. Is blood clot prevention the primary reason why Williams wore the catsuit? Maybe or maybe not. Only Williams really knows. But can a catsuit help prevent blood clots? Yes.

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