Serena Williams lost in the Wimbledon final, still stands up for equality

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Serena Williams lost in the Wimbledon final for the second year in a row. This year, she was beaten by Romanian Simona Halep, who is known as one of the nicest players on the tour. Props to Simona – she was unfazed and bold, and Serena was fazed and flat. Simona is the first Romanian to win a Wimbledon title. As tennis fans and Serena fans, we told ourselves last year that it was so soon after giving birth to Olympia, and that Serena just hadn’t had the time on court. This year, I guess we could say the same – she was dealing with a knee injury for most of the year, and she really only got to practice without pain for a few weeks before Wimbledon, but we also told ourselves that she was match-tough throughout the fortnight, especially given her Mixed Doubles matches with Andy Murray, where she arguably played some of her best tennis of the past three years.

Just like in last year’s Wimbledon final against Angelique Kerber, Serena committed a flurry of errors and she just seemed nervous or out of sorts. Serena used to be one of tennis’s great closers, meaning the further she got into a tournament, the more likely she was to win. If I could pinpoint where that changed, I would say it was the iconic 2015 US Open semifinal against Roberta Vinci, where Serena got so tight as Vinci just played lights-out and pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport. While Serena won big titles after that, I still think that match changed her.

Serena seemed somewhat serene after the match, moving through her press conference quickly, giving a lot of credit to Simona and even taking a few questions about Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Here’s the press conference.

Around the 2:20 mark, Serena was asked about Meghan’s presence and Serena shut down the idea that Meghan made her nervous or whatever. Serena said “Just having her as a friend is great and she’s such a great friend and a great person as well. And always positive, no matter what. It’s so good to have people like that, just to know…she’s such a fan of the sport. She too is happy for Simona. She saw that she played unbelievably, and that’s just the kind of person that she is.”

At the end of the press conference, the last question was: “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 tennis. How do you respond to that?” Serena’s response: “Well, 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.” End scene.

The Wimbledon Championships 2019

The Wimbledon Championships 2019

Photos courtesy of Avalon Red and Getty.

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33 Responses to “Serena Williams lost in the Wimbledon final, still stands up for equality”

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  1. BlueSky says:

    What a dumb question. I hate those “some people say” questions. She can do both. She can play tennis and use her status to raise issues about pay inequality. Serena handled it like a boss.

  2. IlsaLund says:

    I was disappointed Serena didn’t win but still hoping she continues playing. Would love to see her eventually get that next Grand Slam win. Also, these sport reporters asked the dumbest questions and seem to try and bait the athletes with loaded/gotcha questions. The reporters make themselves look stupid and foolish.

  3. Boxy Lady says:

    I’m glad you included the tweet from Billie Jean King because I was thinking, “There’s no way in hell Billie Jean King would have ever said Serena should stop fighting for equality.” Seems like that reporter just pulled a name, any name, out of their ass without really knowing what was really attached to that name.

    • Esmom says:

      But she didn’t randomly pull that name. Bille Jean King did say something to that effect, that maybe she should focus solely on tennis. The tweet is a denial/apology.

    • Ainsley7 says:

      King actually said that Serena should let her staff handle her business, raise her child, and fighting for equality while Serena focuses on tennis for a couple years. It was an odd statement, but I think she meant well. She didn’t mean that Serena should stop fighting. She just thinks Serena is spreading herself too thin. I think Serena knows what she can handle and has the money to hire help if she feels she needs it. So, it’s really not anyone else’s business.

    • Boxy Lady says:

      Thank you everyone. I stand corrected. :)

    • Megan says:

      FFS, can people stop acting like fighting for equality is a hobby.

    • noway says:

      I kind of get the point, I think if she wants to finish out her career winning a lot, she probably does need to cutback on some things. When you are older it takes longer to recover, and it’s just harder, even when you are a world class athlete like Serena. I personally wouldn’t suggest her child, marriage, or speaking up for equality, but she does a lot of other things she can cut back on. She’s still the g.o.a.t. no matter what she does from now on. I personally am fine with her not winning everything, and just being in a final here and there, and skipping a few if she needs to. Honestly this is her choice on what she wants to do, but there is the reality with age it’s harder than it was. I think that was probably what Billie Jean meant to say, sometimes it just doesn’t come out right. Billie Jean has always been very supportive and vocal about Serena and what she brings to the game, and I think I’ll give Billie Jean a pass for a poorly worded comment. This also happens.

    • Kendra says:

      The reporter should not have added equality to the question. It was far to ask about more focusing on the sport. I wonder if the reporter either has issues with Serena or the opposite and wanted to give her easy way to “win” the argument while the reporter would get nice quotes.

  4. crogirl says:

    I am not a huge tennis fan, but I am very happy for Halep, coming from a small country I know what a win like that means for Romania.
    Selena was very gracious and answered that dumb question perfectly.

    • buensenso says:

      agreed. I am so happy for halep. she is such a sweet girl and a great player. she deserved it. I want her to win many more.

  5. Becks1 says:

    That question was so stupid. Pretty sure Serena can walk and chew gum at the same time. She can focus on tennis, be a mother and wife, and fight for equality at the same time.

  6. Catherine says:

    She is so poised it blows my mind. I cried in the bathroom for 40 minutes after the match.

    • Patty says:

      Hope you’re okay Catherine! That being said Serena is running out of opportunities to win that 24th slam and I really wanted her to win 25 and pass Court. I decided yesterday that I am going to attend Wimbledon next year. I want to see both Serena and Roger play on my favorite surface while there’s still time!

  7. Maxine11 says:

    At this point, Serena is just a gatekeeper for the young lions of women’s tennis. It’s really time she retire.

    • Beach Dreams says:

      She’s made it to three slam finals within a year after returning from maternity leave and she’s supposed to retire? 🙄

      • noway says:

        100%. Under most circumstances three finals within a year is a good year, but not to some for Serena Williams. Maternity leave or not, she’s near the end of her career. It’s just her age. She’s not going to play as well as she used to, but still better than most who play. It’s her choice when to leave. She’s earned it. Plus I’d still like to see her play, so I hope she keeps playing.

  8. kerwood says:

    First of all, shame on Billie Jean King for what she said. I can’t believe that a lesbian who has been through what she’s been through would say something like that. I guess rich and White trumps lesbian in Billie Jean King’s world.

    I’m sad that Serena lost but she hadn’t been playing her A game at Wimbledon. Being a mom and having to focus on someone other than herself has been a huge change for her. But even if she’s not playing her best, she’s still the Wimbledon runner-up and that’s pretty amazing. Good for her.

    Reading Serena’s comment brought tears to my eyes. Serena knows that she stood on the shoulders of giants who sacrificed and fought to give her the opportunities she had and know she’s paying it forward. Her words reminded me of a spiritual that says ‘before I’ll be a slave, I’ll be buried in my grave, and go home to my Lord and be free’.

    • Polly says:

      Except she didn’t actually said that. It’s was maliciously mischaracterized by the reporter who was trying to stir s*** up.

    • crass says:

      This is the last part of Billie Jean King’s statement:

      “[It makes winning a Slam] much harder. I would like to see her put everything else aside from that,” King continued. “This is just a wish I have, it’s not fair to her, but I wish she would just make a commitment for the next year-and-a-half to two years and just say, ‘I’m going to absolutely devote what’s necessary for my tennis so when I look in the mirror when I’m older that I can go back in my mind and know I gave everything I had and be happy.’”

      “But if she’s happy doing it this way it’s fine. It’s not about us,” King concluded.

      Of course it’s not as controversial nor news-worthy if the reporter asked “There have been a few comments made in the last couple of weeks from people like Billie Jean King that maybe if you’re happy doing things the way you do its fine. How do you respond to that?”

  9. Xi Tang says:

    Bummed for Serena. She’s the GOAT and can retire whenever she wants. But I want her to get #24 so bad. She’s still playing incredible tennis despite being clearly not in the best form, especially her footwork.

    • duchess of hazard says:

      @ Xi Tang. Same, Serena is GOAT. But I want her to get her 24 title, but if she doesn’t she’s still GOAT.

  10. Harla says:

    Yesterday most of the reporters covering Wimbledon were saying what a negative brat Simona was for many years, so bad in fact that her manager or coach left her because of her attitude. After that Simona worked hard on becoming a better person, on and off the court, as alluded to yesterday in her post-game interview when thanking that person. I think it’s wonderful to see someone really make positive change in their lives. Usually we’re in such a rush to cancel someone that we never appreciate that people can and do change. So Congratulations Simona for both your win at Wimbledon but also for you’re bigger win in striving to become a better person!!!!

    • Kaiser says:

      Halep was never really a “brat” about or to other players, she would just get frustrated with herself and stop trying mid-match. She did a lot of work with a sports psychologist and she’s legitimately one of the most popular players on the tour.

    • Patty says:

      @Harla, Simona has always been nice and kind to other players and the press. She just used to get down on herself. So yes, props to her for working to improve mentally but let’s not misrepresent her history.

      Oops @Kaiser has already said it better than I did. :)

      • Harla says:

        The whole point of my comment was to congratulate Simona on the positive changes she’s made, again she herself spoke about that in her interview after the trophy presentation.

      • Polly says:

        @ Harla
        Except she wasn’t being a brat. A brat entails she’s was being spoiled and acting out. She was in fact just over-stressing and over-thinking herself into giving up. And I doubt the reporters called Simona a brat.

  11. Lisa says:

    Serena handled the disappointment very well. Hopefully she remains injury free and we will see what happens next.

  12. TheOriginalMia says:

    Ugh, I really thought this would be #24 for Serena, but couldn’t help being happy for Simona in finally breaking through. Both women earned my respect and applause for the tourney.

    The question was meant to be pit Serena against Billie Jean. Billie Jean’s comments were far more nuanced and highlighted the difference between men & women champions. No one has asked Federer if his lack of titles is due to his body, his children, his commercialism, his empire, but those are the accepted reasons for why Serena is failing and why she should go ahead and retire. It’s sexist thinking. I wasn’t upset with Billie Jean. I just thought she should have seen how her answer was going to be used against Serena and kept her answer specific to tennis.

  13. anp says:

    Reminder it was Venus that got equal pay for women in tennis. Congratulations to Simona on winning Wimbledon!

  14. Nicegirl says:

    Unbreakable!!!! Serena is amazing, though I loved Simona’s playing!! 🖖🏽🖖🏽

  15. Karen says:

    Time for privacy.
    Time to think and heal.
    One day the tremendous story might be told.