In a new tell-all interview, tennis ace (ha) Serena Williams delves into the aftermath of her 2018 U.S Open loss. The 23-time Grand Slam winner received bouquets and criticism aplenty for an argument that erupted between her and the umpire during the match. To cut short a long explanation, the umpire accused Williams of receiving signalling from her coach during the match. Justifiably, Serena retorted, saying "I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose." The game resumed, and when she lost the subsequent point, she smashed her racket on the court out of frustration. She went back to the umpire, demanded an apology, and said that he was penalising her for being a woman. The umpire's response was to issue her a third violation, and take the game from her. We wouldn't know much about playing in the U.S. Open (or any other sport, for that matter) but it is understandable how the mixture of a global audience, her own expectations, the pressure, and public humiliation affected the pro.
What followed the match was a huge outburst of people accusing Serena of being a bad sport, which effectively pitted her against Naomi Osaka - the outcome that Serena says hurt her the most. The entire situation affected Serena so much that she started seeing a therapist, but internally, she felt she didn't want to pick up a racket again, when the realisation hit - "It was time for me to apologise to the person who deserved it the most," she said.
She decided to text Naomi with this:
Naomi, wise beyond her (then) 20 years, responded with this:
In the interview, Serena continued explaining, "Seeing her text putting everything in perspective. I realized she was right. This incident—though excruciating for us to endure — exemplified how thousands of women in every area of the workforce are treated every day."