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Monday
Jul022018

Serena Williams wins first match at Wimbledon since giving birth

Scott Clarke / ESPN Images(LONDON) -- Serena Williams battled wind, the heat and, most of all, her critics to win her first match at Wimbledon since giving birth.

The seven-time Wimbledon champion, who was seeded 25th, beat Arantxa Rus in two-straight sets in the first round of competition on Monday.

But there seemed to be just as much commentary about what Williams was wearing as her killer serves.

For her return to the British Grand Slam tournament, the 36-year-old arrived in an all-white suit for her warmup.

She then removed the jacket and long pants to reveal a long-sleeved white tennis dress with white shorts underneath.

But it was her legwear that drew the most attention. Williams appeared to be wearing skin-colored footless leggings or tights.

Although Williams did not comment on her legwear, it could very well have served a purpose.

When she appeared at the French Open last month in an all-black skin-tight catsuit, her outfit, once again, made a huge impression.

Williams said it was meant to inspire other women coming back after giving birth.

"For all the moms out there who had a tough recovery from pregnancy -- here you go," she wrote on Instagram. "If I can do it, so can you. Love you, all!!"

After the match, Williams told reporters the suit was also designed to help with blood clots, something the tennis pro has battled, including after giving birth to her daughter when she says she "almost died."

"It is definitely a little functionality to it," Williams told reporters about the catsuit. "I had a lot of problems with my blood clots, and, God, I don't know how many I have had in the past 12 months."

In light of her previous explanation, the legwear seemed to make more sense.

Williams, the most successful tennis player in history, was ranked No. 1 when she took her maternity leave. When she returned to the tour in March, her ranking was 183rd. But the All England Club, which organizes Wimbledon, decided to amend the rules and seed her 25th, taking into account her break for maternity leave.

Following Monday's match, Williams told the BBC she was "more relieved" to have won, admitting that Rus, her opponent, had put up a good fight.

"I'm happy to get through that," she said, adding that she was "just taking one match at a time."

But she was most looking forward to getting back to her 9-month-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., with husband Alexis Ohanian.

"I'm going to try to make it home before she gets to bed," she said.

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