Several weeks ago, Caroline Wozniacki’s Serena Williams impersonation set off a firestorm of criticism. While some called the Danish athlete’s imitation “hilarious”, others didn’t find the stunt so entertaining.
As the target of the prank, Serena Williams remained silent on the matter for quite some time. But the tennis player recently spoke out in response to the controversy. In an email to USA Today, she said she saw no ill-will in Wozniacki’s impersonation.
“I know Caro and I would call her my friend,” she wrote. “And I don’t think she (meant) anything racist by it.”
Williams admitted that she hadn’t seen the viral video of Wozniacki, but said she didn’t understand why others felt that particular incident was racist as opposed to other impressions of her in the past.
However, she added that Wozniacki may want to reconsider repeating the stunt if others took offense.
“I must add,” she wrote. “If people feel this way, she should take reason and do something different next time,” ending the sentence with a smiley face.
Black women’s bodies, in the game of tennis, have been a topic of controversy and discussion before. Just this year, Taylor Townsend, the top-ranking junior tennis player in the world, was under the microscope for her shape and size, after the USTA tried to deny her access to a tournament because of her weight.
Williams has admittedly referred to herself as “bootylicious”, a body classification that many women of color embrace. In the email, she said she doesn’t pay much attention to negative commentary.
At the end of the day, I spend my time focused on things to become better and not bring me down,” she wrote.