Serena Williams Addresses Race, Power And Perceptions In Vogue's September Issue
Serena Williams seems to be a constant target for people. As a champion, trolls focused more on the size of her thighs than her skill. As a female athlete, male athletes (looking at you John McEnroe) undermined her ability in comparison to men. As a mother-to-be, she's been criticised for playing her last tournament whilst expecting. But through it all, Serena Williams is one of our favourites because she says it like it is.
I feel like people think I’m mean,” Williams said. 'Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, "Serena’s really nice." But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean? That’s the society we live in. That’s life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as good.'
Despite her thoughts around how people perceive her, she's aware of her power both on an off the court. 'As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to feel differently about it,' Williams said. 'Power is beauty. Strength is beauty. So now on the court I want people to think that I’m powerful. But I also want them to be shocked at how I play. I want people to expect something, then get something different.'
Powerful or not, Williams isn't the only one with her stance on racial perception, as racism - alongside sexism, another frequent issue she faces - is still a massive issue in sport. Nonetheless, Williams is known for her strong, badass attitude towards critics and naysayers, and ensures that a baby isn't the end of the road for her tennis career, with her sights set on the Australian Open in January 2018. Watch this space, haters.