Williams forced to overcome fashion crisis en route to victory
Eleanor Preston in New York
Thursday September 2, 2004 The Guardian
Serena Williams squeezes into her micro-mini, knee-high boots and the third round
Serena Williams was forced to overcome a major crisis mid-way through the first set of her 6-4, 6-3 win over Lindsay Lee-Waters in the second round of the US Open yesterday. As she sat at the change of ends a look of panic flashed across her eyes. She had forgotten her dangly earrings.
The trinkets were the finishing touches to an ensemble of hotpants and silver-studded boob tube which was a tribute to the elasticity of modern fabrics. Given the care which Williams says she has put into designing her get-up, the omission of the earrings was tantamount to forgetting to bring her rackets on court.
"This is the micro-mini outfit, although actually it's more micro than mini," she said. "I consider myself an entertainer. I like to be a little crazy." She walked on court wearing her new Nike boots, the uppers of which are removed to reveal a rather sedate pair of trainers and which therefore serve no purpose other than to advertise the sportswear manufacturer's $40m (£22.3m) investment in her.
For all that she is serving as a suitably eye-catching advertisement for her sponsors - the courtside photographers and television cameramen could barely contain themselves- Serena can collect the full value of the Nike deal only if she starts to win grand slam titles again. She will need to play better than she did against Lee-Waters to do that, whatever she wears ("I have another surprise planned," she said, rather worryingly), especially since she plays the accomplished 16-year-old Tatiana Golovin next. For all the attention Williams continues to attract she has not won a major title since Wimbledon in 2003 and for a player who once seemed totally unstoppable that constitutes a crisis.
"For now, Roddick seems to play with the intelligence of a fence post." Greg Couch, Chicago Sun Times