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Well, After All, She's Royalty in the Tennis World

July 09, 2002|RENEE TAWA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A big, British "here, here" to Wimbledon champion Serena Williams. Congratulations on not only the title but the in-your-face look in athletic head wear, right there on stuffy Centre Court, right there in front of the royals--a silver tiara, studded with pearls and Swarovski crystals.

Williams, 20, wore the tiara during all of her matches last week in London, including the finals competition on Saturday against her 22-year-old sister, Venus. The press loved the symbolism: Little sister wants to be queen. Or, quite possibly, Serena Williams is after something a little less scary, a little more girlie.

Williams, who grew up in Compton and is studying fashion design, is known for her hip court look, which has included long, blond hair threaded with beads. She unveiled a new look at the French Open last month, when she played a match in shiny black-and-gold dress, gold sneakers and a tiara, which strikes us as more "Saturday Night Fever"-ish than Windsor Castle-esque. Then Williams pronounced herself "spangly dangly," which, in our view, is all good. She told reporters she would miss her gold shoes at Wimbledon, which requires players to wear all white. "Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize," she advised.

We are tired of ugly head wear in sports. Thanks to Williams, sweat-sopping headbands and bandanna wraps are so yesterday. Stamp a swoosh mark on some unisex faux tiaras and get them to market. (Williams' tiara, which she picked up at a Wimbledon village shop, was designed by a company called Irresistible, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper in London). Think of the possibilities: a bauble-free, lighter version for runners; a rhinestone-studded heavier crown for the kind of mountaineer who heads into stiff winds and wants to look good.

It's really an athlete's dream to own multi-tasking sports gear, the kind that flows from day into night. On Sunday, for instance, Williams showed up for the Champions' Dinner at the Savoy Hotel in London wearing a white, decollete-revealing gown--and, what else, a spangly, dangly tiara.

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