Serena Williams may appear to be the epitome of confidence, but it wasn’t always that way.
Last year, the 23-time Grand Slam champion acknowledged her daughter had the same “strong arms and legs” as she does in an open letter to her own mom. When asked about her fears for how Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. will fare when it comes to her body, Williams explained what she had to endure growing up.
“I’ve been body shamed basically since I’ve been in the public eye,” the tennis champion tells “The View” Tuesday, May 1. “I liked how I looked until I got in the public eye. Then it became this different conversation … Suddenly I didn’t like who I was. But as I got older, I understood that this is me, I love who I am, I love how I look. And my body is creating all these opportunities for me and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Williams admitted the change did not happen overnight, however.
“It took me years of feeling like that through negativity and then finally I came to this realization that, ‘This is me, I love who I am,” she adds. “And then looking at my daughter and looking at my mom, how she went through the [negativity] of myself and my body. And I don’t know how she did it. Because if anyone were to say anything about Olympia I’d take my tennis racket and I’d be like, ‘Let’s talk now! Say it again!'”
Online, Williams had plenty of support behind her.
“#Theview what do people think is wrong with Serena Williams body?” one user tweeted. “I think it’s wonderful, strong, feminine and powerful.”
“@serenawilliams is beauty in her own class!” another viewer wrote. “Beauty indeed [has] NO specific definition. You rock!”
“The same fools who body shame Serena, are crying about Michelle Wolf’s smokey eyes joke. #Hypocrites,” someone else said.
“The people that used to body shame Serena, I’m sure are the same that are getting body enhancements … #TheView,” another Twitter user posted.