Serena Williams Had This to Say to Critics Who Think She Should Focus on Tennis Over Activism

Serena Williams continues to unapologetically speak her mind. The tennis superstar lost at the Wimbledon singles finals to Simona Halep over the weekend, and now she’s taking a stand against criticism that she should stick to tennis and take a step back from her “celebrity.”

During a press conference Serena was asked, "There have been a few comments made in the last couple of weeks from people like Billie Jean King that maybe you should stop being a celebrity for a year and stop fighting for equality and just focus on the tennis. How do you respond to that?"

With that, Serena revealed she had no intention of giving up her fight. The 23-time Grand Slam champion replied, “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.”

Tennis icon Billie Jean King previously told BBC that Serena should “give up being a celebrity for a year and half if she wants to win titles.” King stated, “No more Met Galas. Just stop all this insanity because she is trying to be everything.”

King additionally commented to WTA, “She's got a baby, she's trying to help gender equality, particularly women of color. But it makes it much harder. I would like her to put everything else aside, because she's got people working on those things. I wish she would just make a commitment for the next year-and-a-half to two years and say, ‘I'm going to absolutely focus on what's necessary for my tennis, so when I look in the mirror when I'm older then I can go back in my mind and know I gave it everything I had.’"

Billie addressed Serena’s remarks on Sunday via Twitter, writing, “I would never ask anyone to stop fighting for equality. In everything she does, Serena shines a light on what all of us must fight for in order to achieve equality for all.”

Despite others’ opinions, it appears Serena isn’t parting with her outspoken attitude and activism crusade. She told Harper’s Bazaar in a cover story this month, “Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve felt a need to voice my opinion and be heard. Some may not like it, and to be honest, that’s their prerogative. I respect it. Growing up as the youngest of five girls, I learned that I had to fight for everything I wanted. And I won’t ever stop raising my voice against injustice."

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