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Venus creates ‘illusion’ with her new dress

sports Updated: Jan 23, 2010 23:25 IST

Being a tennis player in the age of Twitter and Facebook means Venus Williams can communicate with fans like never before.

This explains the recent tweet about her underwear. The bright yellow mini-dress that Williams wore on Saturday in her third-round win at the Australian Open — and all earlier rounds —has raised eyebrows. Its plunging V-neck and cabaret-style slits up the front prompted fans, bloggers and reporters to question if there was anything underneath.

“The whole idea is about an illusion,” Williams said after defeating Australia’s Casey Dellacqua, 6-1, 7-6 (4) to reach the fourth round. “Obviously the most effective part of the illusion are the slits.”

Two days earlier, the seven-time Grand Slam champion tweeted on the subject to her 438,000 Twitter followers: “My dress for the Australian Open has been one of my best designs ever! It’s all about the slits and V-Neck,” she tweeted, and followed up with this reassurance: “I am wearing undershorts the same color as my skin, so it gives the slits in my dress the full effect!”

Williams, who designs two sportswear labels, sketched out the dress herself. “This is completely my design,” she said, describing her style as fashion forward but also classical. “Anything I wear on the court probably you could wear 20 years from now.” Like most top players, Williams uses social networking sites to touch base with fans. She says she spends more time online when not competing and insists she posts her own updates.

“I’ve always been a really private person. So I do try to keep a part of my life private,” she said, but added that she enjoys the interaction with fans. Williams said she doesn’t follow news while playing a tournament but gleaned from word-of-mouth there was chatter about her dress. Whistles rang out from the stands at the packed Rod Laver Arena midway through Saturday’s match when the wind blew up Williams’ skirt in a Marilyn Monroe moment.