Serena Williams: The Day I Stop Fighting for Equality Is the Day I'm in My Grave

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistJuly 13, 2019

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 13:  Serena Williams of the United States looks dejected during her match against Simona Halep of Romania during Day 12 of The Championships - Wimbledon 2019 at All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on July 13, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)
TPN/Getty Images

Serena Williams didn't let her loss to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final on Saturday deter her from making a larger point about the fight for equal rights. 

During her post-match press conference, Williams was asked about those saying she should "stop fighting for equality" and give more of her attention to tennis.

"The day I stop fighting for equality ... will be the day I'm in my grave," Williams said in response.

The reporter specifically cited comments WTA founder and International Tennis Hall of Famer Billie Jean King made in June, per George Bellshaw of 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."

King did add it's "not fair" to Williams to ask her to do that, but it's "just a wish I have" to see what the 37-year-old could do with tennis as her sole focus. She later clarified her remarks on Twitter: 

Serena and sister Venus, along with King, have been outspoken in advocating equal pay for women's tennis players. 

In a July 2017 essay for Fortune, Serena wrote about the difficulties women of color face in the working world:

"I'd like to acknowledge the many realities black women face every day. To recognize that women of color have to work—on average—eight months longer to earn the same as their male counterparts do in one year. To bring attention to the fact that black women earn 17% less than their white female counterparts and that black women are paid 63% of the dollar men are paid. Even black women who have earned graduate degrees get paid less at every level. This is as true in inner cities as it is in Silicon Valley."

Williams and men's world No. 1 Novak Djokovic are similar in terms of career tournament wins and Grand Slam titles. Djokovic has a 74-72 advantage in career wins, but Williams has a 23-15 edge in Grand Slam victories. 

Williams has earned $88.9 million in prize money, while Djokovic's $132 million in prize money is the most in ATP history, per Forbes. 

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