Grand Slam fashion -- six of the best...or worst

by Dave JAMES
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Making a statement: Serena Williams in her black catsuit at Roland Garros

Serena Williams hit the headlines for her eye-catching, body-hugging black catsuit at the French Open, an outfit she described as "fun and functional", helping her prevent a return of the blood clots which put her life in danger after giving birth last year.

Here AFP Sports looks at three of the 23-time major winner's best...or worst...Grand Slam wardrobe choices and some of her rivals in the fashion stakes:

Catsuit No1

2002 US Open

-- A 20-year-old Serena Williams takes to the court in a striking thigh-length black lycra catsuit which kept the headline writers busy. Britain's Daily Mail described the outfit as adhering to her "like clingfilm, emphasising every astonishing body contour".

The Sun only needed three words: "Nice Ace, Serena!" in reference to the American's powerful physique.

No matter, Serena went on to win a second title in New York.

Denim dreams of Jimmy Dean

2004 US Open

-- Serena made the quarter-finals in 2004 but if her tennis failed to shine by her standards, she was again making a splash in fashion.

This time, she opted for a denim mini-skirt, knee-high black boots and a studded black blouse.

"It's inspired by James Dean," she explained to many blank faces, referencing the doomed 1950s Hollywood icon.

Top of the crops

2004 US Open

-- Don't like the denim for the night session? How about a crop top for the heat of the afternoon?

Serena chose this option which showed off her tight abs with a studded navel for good measure.

Others with a taste for showy extravagance on court

Tiger (well, leopard actually) burning bright

2007 US Open

-- Never one to shy away from a fashion challenge, Bethanie Mattek-Sands can rival Serena in colourful court appearances.

In New York, she went for a leopard-print top and shorts with matching visor.

"I like to be funky," said Mattek-Sands who can also boast once appearing at Wimbledon dressed in all-white soccer-style gear and at another US Open in a cowboy hat.

Corset for concern?

2010 French Open

-- Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Venus Williams played at Roland Garros in a black and red, corset-style outfit with flesh-coloured underwear.

It drew immediate comparisons to Paris's Moulin Rouge with the American insisting she was trying to "create an illusion".

New jacket required

2011 Wimbledon

-- Mattek-Sands arrived at the All England Club wearing a jacket with white tennis balls attached to the sleeves, a choice which has contributed to her being dubbed 'The Lady Gaga of tennis'.

Making a statement: Serena Williams in her black catsuit at Roland Garros

Serena in catsuit no1 at 2002 US Open

Serena in denim at the 2004 US Open

Serena donned a brighter crop top for the day-time matches at Flushing Meadows in 2004

Not to be outdone by her younger sister, Venus Williams turned heads at the 2010 French Open

Mattek-Sands was dubbed the 'Lady Gaga of tennis' after wearing a striking jacket at Wimbledon in 2011, although her playing gear was more traditional