Serena Williams is now widely considered as one of the greatest tennis players ever to have played the game, but the 35-year-old feels that this recognition would have arrived a long time ago had she been a man. The tennis star has also opened up about how she still faces blatant sexism and racism.
In a candid interview with ESPN, Serena Williams opened up about the challenges of being a black women in a predominantly white sports, which still gives the men more prize money than the women. She said, “It’s very challenging because sometimes when things are blatantly wrong and blatantly unfair and blatantly racist or sexist, I just have to go and put on a brave smile and not let anyone know how I feel on the inside so they don’t get that satisfaction even though on the inside I would be dying.”
After winning the Wimbledon earlier this year, Serena Williams equaled Steffi Graf’s record of most Grand Slam wins in the open era, and she is now just two majors behind Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24. For many tennis experts, Serena has finally reached the title of the greatest female player ever, although many still disagree with the claim. The legend, however, chose to talk about the divide between the male and female players and said that she would have been recognized as one of the greatest to have wielded the tennis racket if only she had been a member of the opposite sex.
“I think if I were a man, I would have been in that conversation a long time ago.
“I think being a woman is just a whole new set of problems from society that you have to deal with, as well as being black, so it’s a lot to deal with — and especially lately.
“I’ve been able to speak up for women’s rights because I think that gets lost in colour, or gets lost in cultures. Women make up so much of this world, and, yeah, if I were a man, I would have 100 per cent been considered the greatest ever a long time ago,” Serena said.
Serena has had a love-hate relationship with the media, and she regrets the fact that she had criticized herself early on in her career for speaking her mind.
“I shouldn’t have to apologise for saying and believing that I could be the best.
“We took the globe and shook it, me and Venus because we came from Compton we came from nothing and in tennis you kind of have to have something.
“We came and we conquered,” she said.
Watch the full interview here: