After facing a devastating defeat to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final Saturday, Serena Williams used her platform to keep fighting for equality.
She had a simple but poignant message: “The day I stop fighting for equality … will be the day I’m in my grave.”
Williams then stood up and walked off from her news conference.
Williams, who was hoping to earn an eighth title at Wimbledon and a record-equaling 24th overall at Grand Slam tournaments before Saturday’s loss to Halep, responded to comments Billie Jean King recently made questioning her focus.
King said (via Metro): “She’s got business, a baby, she’s trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of color, she’s actually on the Billie Jean King leadership initiative, she and Venus are both advisors for it. (It makes winning a Slam) much harder. I would like to see her put everything else aside from that. She’s got people working on these things.
“I wish she would just make a commitment for the next year-and-a-half to two years and just say, ‘I’m going to absolutely devote what’s necessary for my tennis so when I look in the mirror when I’m older that I can go back in my mind and know I gave everything I had and be happy.’ But if she’s happy doing it this way it’s fine. It’s not about us.”
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King added it’s “not fair” to ask that of Williams, but it’s “just a wish I have” to see what the star could do if tennis were her only focus.