Venus' Baring Act? 'Just an Illusion'
"Do you think..." one of them asked me. "Is Venus..." the other one said. "Is she wearing any..."
All I could say was this: I feel the need to avert my eyes when she serves.
There is no delicate way to talk to a stranger about someone's delicates, and whether they exist. It's the kind of thing you just sort of keep quiet about, and pretend you didn't notice anything. That was my intention.
But everyone here notices. Fans are whistling. And in the Internet era, with rumors swirling -- Is Venus going Commando? -- Williams felt the need to explain her outfit at the Australian Open, and to explain that yes, she is wearing underwear.
"The whole idea is just an illusion, and illusion is that I'm wearing like a deep V-neck," she said. "Obviously, the most effective part of the illusion are the slits. Then the idea was to wear shorts that were like the same color as my skin.
"So it works very well apparently."
Yes, very apparently.
For me, this looks great from the front. From the back, during a serve, well, if the illusion she was going for was that she's flashing everyone, then it's working.
This Australian Open has now produced two of the strangest incidents.
First, American Donald Young's first-round match was delayed 40 minutes when a ballboy started peeing on himself. He left a puddle on the court, then ran off, leaving a trail. Tournament officials brought out sawdust and blowers to dry the court, but the blowers weren't working.
Now, one of the greatest tennis players of all time had to make an announcement that she is, indeed, wearing underwear.
That has to be a first in sports history. I just don't see Roger Federer holding a press conference like this. Or Kobe Bryant. Peyton Manning. Albert Pujols.
Maybe Tiger Woods.
Williams said she's not into reading the news, but on site here at Melbourne Park, "Like, I hear things."
That's why she responded. First, she wrote on her Twitter account that this is one of her best designs ever, then the press conference following her third-round victory.
"This is completely my design..." she said. "When I design, I just try to stay true to me and just try to express who I am in the designs.
"I think I'm fashion-forward, but at the same time, I think I'm really classical. Anything I wear on the court probably you could wear 20 years from now."
That, I believe.
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