Serena Williams has penned an open letter regarding her behavior at 2018’s US Open Championships.
The tennis champ was criticised at the time after she lashed out at the umpire for their judgements on her game.
The tennis pro revealed that she is sorry for her behavior, but felt she was doing the right thing by sticking up for herself. She penned the letter for Harpers Bazzar, after posing photoshop-free for their cover.
Taking readers through the incident, she wrote: “It’s the beginning of the second set, and the umpire thinks he spots my coach signaling me from the stands. He issues a violation—a warning,” details Williams.
“‘I don’t cheat to win. I’d rather lose,’ I said. I smash my racket in frustration; he issues another violation and gives a point to my opponent.”
“I feel passionately compelled to stand up for myself. I call him a thief; I again demand an apology,” she writes. “I tell him he is penalizing me for being a woman.”
“In the end, my opponent simply played better than me that day and ended up winning her first Grand Slam title. I could not have been happier for her. As for me, I felt defeated and disrespected by a sport that I love.”
“This debacle ruined something that should have been amazing and historic,” she continues. “Not only was a game taken from me but a defining, triumphant moment was taken from another player.”
“I couldn’t find peace,” Williams writes of the weeks following the incident. “I started seeing a therapist.”
She took the time to apologise to her opponent. She wrote that she was “truly sorry,” and while Osaka accepted the apology, she said that Williams should continue to speak up and defend herself against unfair treatment.
Williams’ letter continues, citing her daughter as her motivation to continue to play tennis, and speak up against sexism and racism.