Serena Williams has spoken out about fellow tennis player Caroline Wozniacki’s irreverent parody of Williams’ curves, saying she was not bothered by the joke.
Wozniacki, a former no. 1-ranked player from Denmark, set off a firestorm when she poked fun at Williams’ impressive physical assets by stuffing her shirt and skirt during an exhibition match against Maria Sharapova in Brazil.
The video footage went viral, igniting swift, sometimes vicious commentary on social media and in online forums. Women of color were especially outraged by what seemed like a racist denigration of the Black female form.
But Williams recently told USA Today that she was not bothered by the imitation.
“I know Caro and I would call her my friend and I don't think she (meant) anything racist by it,” Williams, a 15-time major winner, told the newspaper in an e-mail.
Williams pointed out that others, such as Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic, have performed similar imitations of fellow players which were not labeled as racist.
However, she added, since so many others seemed disturbed by the parody, Wozniacki should probably think twice before doing another imitation.
“I must add if people feel this way she should take reason and do something different next time,” Williams wrote, punctuating her sentence with a smiley emoticon.
The reigning U.S. Open and Wimbledon champ said she had not seen the video and preferred to stay out of the controversy.
“At the end of the day I spend my time focused on things to become better and not bring me down,” she continued, writing from the island of Mauritius off the coast of Africa, where she is training for the Australian Open.