Never mind the variety of her shot selection, Serena Williams has measured out her Wimbledon career in gloriously diverse hair-dos (and the odd hair-don’t).
She’s done braids and beads, crimps and curls, big and bountiful, pulled up and prim, wild and frizzy. It’s been bleached blonde, tinted copper, streaked with purple. It’s been long, short, sleek, straight, natural, fringed and today, in her first-round match against Mandy Minella, it was a veritable geyser of exuberance tied up high on her head with an orange scrunchie, tamed across her brow by a white hair band.
At one point she tucked the tips into her hair band so that, from one side, it towered up á la Marge in The Simpsons.
Serena’s Wimbledon 2013 look is similar to her French Open appearance, suggesting that her hair reflects her current life force as the dominant player on the women’s tour. “I need to calm it down. It's really big. It was a little windy [at Roland Garros], so it was getting in my face, and I put it in this '80s scrunchie I happened to have. The look isn't new. I've just let it go super natural and super crazy and not care. It's fun,” she said.
Away from tennis, the Williams sisters are celebrated for their love of fashion. Indeed, Serena features as the cover girl on Essence magazine this month with the line: “It’s important to look in the mirror and say ‘I love myself’”.
That’s not to say she prioritises appearance over athletic achievement. Quite the reverse. It’s all about confidence and being comfortable in herself.
While the majority of the other women players go for aerodynamic efficiency with their long hair held back sweat-free by a practical single plait or high ponytail, Serena’s experimentation is no less businesslike when it comes to focusing on court. The way she deals with her tresses proves she can never be called a one-trick pony.
“I don't only play hard tennis,” she said today in response to a question about whether she had contemplated improving her power game by embracing more variety. “Maybe if you want to get out there I can show you how I mix things up. I hit a lob today. I'm hitting slices and drop shots… I think power's often extremely good to have in your game, but if I were to sit here and hit every ball hard, my arm would fall off.”
Yes, variety is the spice of a Grand Slam champion’s life.
Click here to see Serena's hair through the years.