09 June 2020

Tennis great Serena Williams says on Instagram live: ‘I’ve always been proud to be who I am, to be black.

Tennis royalty Serena Williams has outlined the career obstacles she has faced because of her race and the ways in which she learned to cope with discrimination.

Speaking on an Instagram live session with husband Alexis Ohanian, the 23-time Grand Slam champion said: “I'm proud, I've always been proud to be who I am, to be black.

"I just feel like I wouldn't be who I am, I wouldn't be as strong as I am, I wouldn't have been able to be as amazing I have been so far in my career, I wouldn't be me if I wasn't black. 

“I've always leaned into that, I get that from my parents,” she added.

The American tennis star remarked that her race meant she saw, and experienced, the world differently.

“I'm always letting you know what I see,” she said

"I see things different. My whole life, I've been taught to see things different because who I am and because of the colour of my skin.

"I'm just telling you my view, and when you get to see it from my point of view, it's just totally different. 

“There have been so many situations I've been in where I've just had to take the high road, even to this day," she added.

Williams discussed the adversities she has faced because of the colour of her skin and how she has learned to cope with them.

“A lot of people don't know that in my whole life, I've had to deal with so many different challenges,” said the 38-year-old.

“I've had to deal with a lot of inequality, I've had to deal with racism and sadly, it's become, unfortunately, somewhat of a norm for people who have my skin colour.

“It is really unfortunate, but it's something I think that, systematically, we just have to ultimately deal with, and I shouldn't have let it become a norm.”

A young Williams with her first Major Grand Slam title in 1999 (EMPICS Sport)

She said she had felt like an outsider when she began her tennis career and how her faith and determination to succeed helped her through it.

“I entered a sport that was all white, and it definitely wasn't easy, looking back,” she said.

“I was also very young and I just adapted. I wasn't there to be besties with anybody, I was just there to play tennis,” she added.

“It all really boiled down to my faith, and that all of this is temporary. I don't think I would be in this position, I think I would be very angry, very spiteful, very jealous, if I didn't have that spiritual background.”

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