Serena Williams was discussing her role in the upcoming match against the Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus at the Wimbledon tournament when she was asked about her being more drug-tested by a reporter.
A Deadspin article revealed that the seven-time Wimbledon star was tested for doping far more than other U.S. tennis players.
The reporter asked Williams to comment on why she was dope-tested more than other male and female athletes. “I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else,” the seven-time Wimbledon champion said. “Until I read that article I didn’t realize it was such a discrepancy with me as well as against the other players that they listed, at least the American players — both male and female.”
The 23-times Grand Slam champion was tested five times by the USADA this year. That was more than double the number of tests for other female U.S. tennis players.
Williams said she felt discriminated, adding that she was not against the tests. However, she demanded everyone to be tested equally.
“It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that,” said the 36-year-old. “I just found it quite interesting.”
The article had mentioned how the tennis star got frustrated after a controversy of her missing a test made waves. According to Williams, the sampler showed up 12 hours before the decided time and she wasn’t able to make it in due time.
“For me it’s a little frustrating. How can I have a missed test when it’s nowhere near the time I should be there? “It’s really disappointing, shocking. I was like, that’s just weird. I’m still trying to figure out why and how that happened,” she explained.
“I’m totally OK with testing and I encourage it,” Williams said. “It’s just about being equal and not centering one person out. Just due to the numbers, it looks like I’m being pushed out,” she continued.
As per the U.S. Anti-Doping agency (USADA), successful sport figures can be tested more than others. They are also required to let the agency know about their whereabouts for one hour when taking a break and not playing the game. Drug testers are allowed to make unannounced visits to test successful athletes during the one-hour window, but if an athlete is not available they will receive a “missed test.”
“How is it I’m getting tested five times? I’m OK with that. Literally verbatim I said: ‘I’m going with that, as long as everyone is being treated equally. That’s all I care about,” said the world’s no. 1 tennis star.
“Tennis has given me so much. It’s such an amazing sport. I feel like equality, that’s all I’ve been preaching, it’s all about equality,” she continued. “If that’s testing everyone five times, let’s do it. Let’s be a part of it. It’s just about being equal and not centering one person out. Just due to the numbers, it looks like I’m being pushed out. Just test everyone equally.”
“Over her 23-year career in tennis, Serena Williams has never tested positive for any illegal substance despite being tested significantly more than other professional tennis players, both male and female – in fact, four times more frequently than her peers,” said a spokeswoman for Williams while talking to Deadspin.
William being drug-tested more than other players, and receiving a missed test, even though the sampler showed up before time just goes to show that discrimination has plagued its roots so deep, in every aspect of life — even legends like William’s don’t get spared by it.
Thumbnail/ Banner Credits: Reuters, Jed Leicester/Pool