Reporter Who Likes to Stir Trouble with Serena Williams Gets Dragged By Fans

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A reporter known for getting on 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams‘ case has apologized and clarified his description of a “heated” post-match interview surrounding her drug use.

Ben Rothenberg tweeted a transcript of the new mom’s Indian Wells aftergame interview Thursday, March 8 and said he was “quite surprised to see that a heated exchange between a reporter and Serena Williams didn’t get more attention overnight in the hours after her first match since maternity leave.”

“I’ve never tested positive [for an illegal substance],” Williams says when asked about therapeutic drug use exemption at the 2015 French Open. “I’ve always gotten a TUE, so you should fact check that. I wasn’t going to play unless I had a TUE because if you remember that year I was incredibly sick.”

Rothenberg said in a follow-up tweet complete with a transcript of the discussion that Williams was “spoiling the festive comeback mood” and “it was the first time Serena has been asked in press about the cache of therapeutic use exemptions (T.U.E.s) revealed by Russian hackers in Sept. 2016, which included hers (she’s only played two tournaments since then).”

He concluded that it wasn’t exactly true that Willams always welcomed questions about drugs, and also provided video proof of his claim.

Several have chimed in on Rothenberg’s claims from Williams’ fans to her husband Alexis Ohanian and former No. 1 men’s pro and Wiliams’ pal Andy Roddick.

“More like “cool, calm, and collected exchange,” Ohanian said.

“Calling this heated is pure clickbait …. I’m not sure how to forcefully defend yourself while still keeping an element of respect better than she did here,” Roddick said. “@BenRothenberg I’m guessing you’d be ‘intense’ as well if someone questioned your integrity. You should be better.”

“Your Messy and a tabloid journalist at best. TMZ is hiring,” a Twitter user said. “You will do anything 4 clicks and likes. I’m sure your cowardly ass have never asked the hard questions face2face.”

In response, Rothenburg issued a lengthy thread saying, “it’s clear that heated’ was a terrible word choice. I should leave that sort of assessment to folks in the room.”

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