Serena Williams is living her best life, with her new baby and husband, and looking 100 times cooler than most tennis players in her superhero-like catsuit.
Her comeback has been largely triumphant — while she was forced to pull out of the French Open on Monday due to a chest injury, according to Team USA, she played her way to the fourth round before then.
Yet, as seems to be the case for many successful (black) women, you won’t find a shortage of people angling to cut her down. From the racist, to the sexist, to the downright rude, here are five absolutely ridiculous things people have said to Serena Williams lately.
1. That time an interviewer called her “baby.”
In a June 2 interview (a transcript of which has made the rounds on Twitter), reporter Ben Simons of “Inside Tennis” made the mistake of calling Williams something that definitely isn’t her name. After Simons acknowledged that Serena was probably in a hurry to get back to her daughter Olympia, Serena responded, “Work with me.” Simons then commented “We’re in this together, baby,” a choice that many found extremely offensive.
Was it perhaps an attempt to be personable? Maybe, but when you’re talking to one of the greatest of all time, it’s probably a good idea to show a little respect.
2. That time the same interviewer implied she should be threatened by Maria Sharapova’s “supermodel good looks.”
During that same interview, Simons also asked if Williams was intimidated by her non-rival, Maria Sharapova. Apparently, after Williams’ 2004 Wimbledon match with Sharapova, Simons interviewed Trump, who theorized Williams was intimidated by her opponent’s “supermodel good looks.”
“My question is: Have you ever been intimidated by anyone on a tennis court, and what are your thoughts about the occurrence?” Simons continued.
Some statements are just so disrespectful, it’s hard to know where to start. Why should Serena Williams, arguably the most accomplished female athlete of our generation, be intimidated by a woman who doesn’t have half the number of accomplishments under her belt? Sharapova has lost to Williams 18 times in a row, Reuters reports, and out of 21 matches, lost 19 of them in all. Why should Serena Williams, a woman who is basically a literal goddess walking the Earth, be intimidated by anyone's appearance? Why would someone bring up a Donald Trump theory to Williams herself a decade and a half later?
Williams, who, sadly, must be used to fielding this type of nonsense, responded with more grace than most of us could probably manage.
“I honestly don’t have any thoughts about that,” she said. “I can’t say I have been intimidated by anyone. That’s all. That’s it.”
3. That time a conservative basically called her fat and old.
Scott McConnell, co-founder of “The American Conservative,” took to Twitter last week to imply that the sport itself is in a state of crisis if Williams manages to be so good at it, even after having a difficult birth.
“Am generally a fan of women's tennis, but the fact that Serena at age 36 can spend six of the last 12 months in medical duress and come back 25 lbs overweight and beat seeded players makes me think the game lacks something,” McConnell wrote.
Serena Williams killed the sport of tennis by being so good at it. Who knew?
4. That time Maria Sharapova wrote a memoir.
As if it isn’t bad enough having to deal with constant criticism on social media, Williams also has to deal with accusations about her character in actual books, like Maria Sharapova’s 2017 memoir, “Unstoppable: My Life So Far.”
“I think Serena hated me for being the skinny kid who beat her, against all odds, at Wimbledon,” Sharapova wrote, according to Yahoo News. “Not long after I heard Serena told a friend, who then told me, ‘I’ll never lose to that little bitch again.”
Serena doesn’t seem to be a big fan of Sharapova’s statements, and on Saturday shared how surprised she was to find out how much of Sharapova’s book was about her, Reuters reports. She elaborated, “I think the book was 100 percent hearsay, at least all the stuff I read and the quotes that I read, which was a little bit disappointing.”
Sharapova later stood behind what she’d written, Yahoo News reports, and claimed that, when writing an autobiography, there’s no reason write “anything that’s not true.” For that reason, in the name of accuracy, Sharapova might want to edit her book title to “Unstoppable (Except For When Serena Williams Beat Me 18 Times In A Row).”
5. That time Williams was criticized for going to an event with her (white) husband.
Serena Williams and reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian have been married since November and have been together for even longer. Still, if you thought people would have stopped being angry about Williams’ interracial relationship by now, you’d be wrong.
The power couple made a trip across the pond last month to attend the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, and in one photo on Serena’s Instagram, she referred to her husband as her king. The comments got just as messy as you’d expect, Rolling Out reports, with some bashing Serena for calling her white partner a king.
“Cause u can’t handle a strong black Man. U want to b the aggressor so u crossed over,” wrote one angry commenter, according to Rolling Out.
Serena didn’t seem to be losing sleep over it and posted a slew of photos showing off her gorgeous family.
[Photo: Serena Williams celebrates victory during the ladies singles third round match against Julia Georges of Germany during day seven of the 2018 French Open at Roland Garros on June 2, 2018 in Paris, France. By XIN LI/Getty Images]