Advertisement

Serena Williams Says She'll Never Stop Fighting For Equality: 'That's The Day I'm In My Grave'

Serena Williams is being praised for her response to a question about whether she should stop focusing on equality and start focusing more on tennis.

The 23-time Grand Slam champion lost the Wimbledon championship to Romanian Simona Halep 6-2, 6-2, marking her third Grand Slam title loss since returning to tennis.

READ MORE: Halep Pays Tribute To Aussie Coach After Stunning Wimbledon Win

In a post-match press conference on Saturday, a reporter asked Williams for her response from people like tennis legend Billie Jean King saying maybe she should "stop being a celebrity for a year and stop fighting for equality, and just focus on the tennis."

Williams was having none of it.

"The day I stop fighting for equality, and for people that look like you and me, will be the day I'm in my grave," she replied.

The comments from King came from the launch of the newly-formatted Fed Cup in late June.

According to reports, the former tennis great had been speculating on Williams' chances at Wimbledon, as the former world No. 1 prepared to cinch a victory and equal Margaret Court's 24-strong Grand Slam haul.

"She's got business, a baby, she's trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of colour ... [it makes winning a Slam] much harder. I would like to see her put everything else aside from that."

Billie Jean King
Tennis legend Billie Jean King speaks to the media before a first round 2019 Fed Cup match between the USA and Australia at U.S. Cellular Center on February 09, 2019 in Asheville, North Carolina. Photo: Getty.

King added: "This is just a wish I have, it's not fair to her, but 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."

READ MORE: Serena Williams Flashes Her Bum On Her Untouched Cover Of Harper's Bazaar Australia

However, after Williams' post-match press conference, King refuted how her comments had been interpreted.

"I would never ask anyone to stop fighting for equality," she tweeted.

"In everything she does, Serena shines a light on what all of us must fight for in order to achieve equality for all."

Williams' Wimbledon loss -- watched by friend Meghan Markle -- had the former No. 1 admitting she may never surpass, let alone equal, Court's Grand Slam record, which has stood untouched for 46 years.

Since returning to professional tennis after the birth of her daughter Olympia in September 2017, Williams has lost all three of her Grand Slam finals in straight sets.

READ MORE: 'Serena's Reaction To Ash Barty Was An Absolute Disgrace'

The first was to Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon last year, then to Naomi Osaka at the US Open, and now her loss to Halep.

"I don't know," Williams said, when asked if she believed she could still reach Court's record.

"I don't think it's harder. I think it's just coming out there and doing the best that you can. That's all you can do, really.

"Someone told me I shouldn't look at the records any more. I should just focus on my fame. That's kind of what I've been doing since I got to 18.

"In the meantime, I got pregnant, had a baby, so ... that definitely plays a little bit into it."

Contact the author: abrucesmith@networkten.com.au