The dark side of Tennis: Serena Williams


Tennis has had its fair share of racist attacks in the past, however, the recent ending of the boycott of of Indian wells Tennis tournament by number one female tennis star- Serena Williams seem to have created a new impression about racism against people of color. Serena has decided to end her 14-year boycott of Indian wells in March 2015 after he won her first professional match at the same tournament in 1997. Serena’s relationship with the organizers of Indian wells tennis tournament had gone sour following an incident where she was booed and racially abused by a crowd predominantly made up of white spectators.

According to Serena Williams, she had to cry her eyes sore inside the locker room, after winning the 2001 tournament . Serena’s return was a decision to end her boycott in 2015 edition. The 2001 racial attack is not the only racist attack Serena suffered in her Tennis career, in 2014, a Russian tennis official had made another sexist and racial remark at her and her sister- The American Women’s Tennis Association immediately rose to her defense and condemned the official and he was eventually suspended for 1 year after being fined.

In a 2011 documentary titled – The Black List, Serena Williams discussed in length about how her family struggled within the white dominated tennis game, she lamented how she and her mother were the only black people attending Tennis tournaments in Europe. Serena Williams’ father had accused the media of trying to create some controversies on the withdrawal of Serena from the Indian Wells Tennis tournament since 2011, and he even accused them of trying to nullify and rubbish all the achievements his daughters have made over the years. The media claimed that Serena Williams’ father had orchestrated Serena’s withdrawal from Indian Wells tournament just to steer her daughter to victory- a claim the Williams father rejected.

The media believed that Serena’s loss at Wimbledon 2014 made her cry and not because they were racial related, the media also asked Serena to take a clue from her sister-Venus, who simply walks off the court without causing any controversies after losing any game.

Nothing solid has been done to radically change the way people of color are represented and treated in tennis tournaments. The sport is still predominantly white and little integration of people of color into the tournaments like the Indian Wells and Wimbledon show little progress in changing people’s perceptions.

Many sports enthusiast believed that racial profiling is an issue that will continue to affect the game of Tennis and all other sports, for a long time to come.

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