June 19, 2013-Serena Williams may have left for London a few days ago in preparation for Wimbledon but she has made plenty of headlines stateside thanks to an interview with Rolling Stone magazine that was released yesterday.
The interview was conducted in March right before the Sony Open in Miami and it attempts to show readers the more personal side to perhaps the greatest female tennis player the game has ever seen. Unfortunately it has also caused a bit of a stir as Williams was forced to release an apology referring to her comments regarding a rape trial where Williams inferred the victim might have been at fault. Below is the excerpt from the article:
We watch the news for a while, and the infamous Steubenville rape case flashes on the TV – two high school football players raped a drunk 16-year-old, while other students watched and texted details of the crime. Serena just shakes her head. “Do you think it was fair, what they got? They did something stupid, but I don’t know. I’m not blaming the girl, but if you’re a 16-year-old and you’re drunk like that, your parents should teach you: Don’t take drinks from other people. She’s 16, why was she that drunk where she doesn’t remember? It could have been much worse. She’s lucky. Obviously, I don’t know, maybe she wasn’t a virgin, but she shouldn’t have put herself in that position, unless they slipped her something, then that’s different.”
Williams issued the following apology through her website today after reaction to the interview was viewed as overwhelmingly negative.
“What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only sixteen, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved – that of the rape victim and of the accused. I am currently reaching out to the girl’s family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written – what I supposedly said – is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
I have fought all of my career for women’s equality, women’s equal rights, respect in their fields – anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent sixteen year old child.”
Williams also touched upon a few other hot topics in the interview including her insistence that she has never been a mentor to up and coming American tennis star Sloane Stephens. Stephens notably upset Williams in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open this year and since then Stephens has claimed that their relationship has been icy.
Many comparisons have been made between Stephens and Williams who right now are the best American players on tour whom both happen to be black. But Stephens revealed in her own in-depth interview this past spring in ESPN The Magazine that there is no lost love between the two players and since she defeated Williams in Australia she has received nothing but the cold shoulder from the world number one.
Williams also apparently takes a shot at the second ranked player in the world Maria Sharapova commenting on her over the top enthusiasm in her interviews and how she is so in love with her new boyfriend Grigor Dimitrov. (Though Williams doesn’t mention Sharapova by name her comments paint a pretty clear picture as to whom she is talking about).
But the real black cloud in the interview is unquestionably her interpretation of the young 16 year-old female at the center of a rape case, comments that Williams is hoping will not be front and center as she pursues her 17th major tennis title next week.
Williams has been on the comeback trail the past year since her embarrassing loss in the first round of the 2012 French Open. Since then she has been nearly unstoppable picking up three out of the four last grand slam titles. She is the overwhelmingly favorite to win her sixth Wimbledon trophy and it seems the only thing that can stop that from happening is perhaps Williams herself.