“I remember being so nervous, & I’m thinking ‘okay, I can’t believe I’m gonna go out on court like this” – Serena Williams on wearing iconic Cameroon soccer outfit at French Open 2002

Williams wore the iconic soccer-inspired outfit at the 2002 French Open
Williams wore the iconic soccer-inspired outfit at the 2002 French Open

Serena Williams is often hailed as a pioneer of fashion in sports. The 40-year-old has served ground-breaking looks and served aces throughout her career.

Williams, who is set to feature on the cover of Vogue’s September issue this year, recently appeared in their video “Life in Looks”. She elaborated on the iconic soccer-inspired outfit that she wore at the 2002 French Open.

The American wore the look as a tribute to the Cameroon National Football Team who were the champions at the African Cup of Nations. The team also wore the since-banned jerseys at the FIFA World Cup in 2002.

⏪ In 2002 Cameroon wore a sleeveless kit, and won the African Cup of Nations wearing it 🎽Later that summer FIFA refused to let them wear it at the World Cup and they had to improvise sleeves 👕

Describing the splendorous look designed by Puma, Williams declared that it was one of her favorite outfits of all time.

“This one is probably one of my all-time favorite looks. They had this Cameroon outfit which, I thought, was so cool. And it was like out of a soccer player. So I had the high socks, and the soccer kinda cleat shoes minus the cleats,” she said.
Serena Williams wearing her 2002 Cameroon inspired outfit during the 2002 French Open as both were sponsored by Puma.'Serena had even asked to be able to wear her lucky number 26 on her back but the request was turned down by the organisers.'🇨🇲

Serena Williams recalled that she won her first Roland Garros title that year but she wasn’t wearing the iconic look when she lifted the trophy. She suggested that her soccer-inspired apparel was showy but not meant for tennis.

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2002 French Open Women's 1st Round:(3)Serena Williams def. Martina Sucha 6-3, 6-0Serena, known for her fashion, debuted her title run with a green & yellow kit complete with knee-high socksIt was an homage to the 2002 Cameroon World Cup men's soccer team#BlackHistoryMonth
“And this is the first year I actually won the French Open. I wore two outfits this year. I started out in this Cameroon outfit,” she added, “I remember being so nervous and I’m thinking ‘okay, I can’t believe I’m gonna go out on court like this. I can’t wear this. I’ll just wear the second outfit.’
"And I actually only wore this outfit two times because it was really all about the fashion and less about the tennis and I was like, no I wanna do well. I wanna win.”

In Paris, Serena Williams claimed her second Grand Slam after her maiden title at the 1999 US Open. She defeated her sister Venus Williams in straight sets in the final.

#OTD in 2002 - French Open runner-up @VenusesWilliams grabs a camera 📷 to turn photographer - and snap some pictures of the champion, her little sister @SerenaWilliams 🤣

Serena Williams prepares to play the last tournament of her career at the US Open

Over a week ago, Serena Williams announced her 'evolution away from tennis’, suggesting her impending retirement. The 40-year-old is set to take a leave from the tennis courts after this year’s US Open.

Serena Williams at 17 years old beats Martina Hingis at the 1999 US Open in straight sets to win her first major title.

Williams won her maiden Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open when she defeated Martina Hingis. The sporting legend then went on to win 22 more singles slam titles. She also lifted 14 doubles Grand Slam titles alongside her sister Venus Williams.

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Edited by Keshav Gopalan
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