‘Like a queen from Wakanda’: Serena Williams says ‘superhero’ catsuit helped her to victory

‘Like a queen from Wakanda’: Serena Williams says ‘superhero’ catsuit helped her to victory
US tennis star Serena Williams said her new black catsuit made her feel like a superhero and powered her to victory at the French Open in Paris on Tuesday.

The tennis ace defeated Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 in the first round at Roland-Garros, and afterwards said the new black catsuit she was sporting on court had helped her win. 

"I fell like a warrior princess kind, a queen from Wakanda," the 36-year-old said, referencing the blockbuster Black Panther movie from Marvel.  

"I'm always living in a fantasy world. I always wanted to be a superhero, and it's kind of my way of being a superhero."

Despite the temperature in Paris reaching 25C (77F), Williams kept her cool in her catsuit, and also said the sleek black number by sponsor Nike had aided her with preventing blood clots - something she has suffered with seriously in the past.

"I had a lot of problems with those - I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months," she said. "[The suit] definitely has little functionality to it. It's a fun suit, but it's also functional so I'm able to play without any problems."

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Williams, who is chasing her 24th Grand Slam title, returned to tennis earlier this year after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia. 

Her comeback has been stop-start so far, and she dedicated her win on Tuesday to “all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy.”

She was relaxed about her chances of adding to her three French Open singles titles.

“I don't know [about winning the title]. I'm definitely here to compete and do the best that I can do. I'm not putting any pressure on myself as I normally do,” she said. 

Williams also said that being a mom meant managing her time differently at major events such as Grand Slams. 

"The biggest difference is definitely I'm semi on time today," she said. "It's because I want to get home to see Olympia, because I have been here all day.

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"There were a couple of rain delays so I wasn't able to [see her]. If I'm not practicing, we're hanging out.

"I'm concerned how that's going to work out for me, because normally in Grand Slams I do spend a lot of time at the site. She's so young, I don't really bring her."

Williams will face Australia's Ashleigh Barty in the next round, and will be hoping to draw on the same powers bestowed by her new catsuit.