In a sport which is just as much mental as it is physical, racist slandering could easily consume any player and seriously wound their confidence. Comments which are racialized, sexualized and dehumanizing have brought down even the greatest legendary players to tears. If history is any witness, tennis has been a ground of white supremacy vilifying players of color from Althea Gibson to Serena Williams. We look at Five instances when racism marred the game of tennis.
The racist tendency has spread across the globe like wild fire fueled by but not restricted to the fans of the sport. The former player and the game setters equally partake in the contumely regularly. The event are not isolated, they seem random and innocuous but are rather piercing and lethal blows masquerading as subtle, nuanced statements.
Tennis most certainly is a racist place to play and anyone who refutes that is in denial or just plain ignorant. In light of the recent most despicable racist attack on Serena Williams and her bi-racial unborn child, I give you 5 racist attack on tennis players from history. Unfortunately this is just the tip of the enormous iceberg that is racism in tennis.
5) Serena William in Indian Wells
Serena Williams is a one of a kind, most successful achieving players of all time and yet the most anathematized player as well. She along with sister has been on the receiving end of the blatant racism and sexism for their strong and aggressive demeanor which on a white skin would be lionized.
Serena has been compared to animals, gorilla and even a truck. She has been time and again criticized for having the ‘black’ advantage. Continuously berated for having muscular bodies and masculine bearings, the sister have been called ‘The Williams brothers’, giving in to the sterotypes.
The most infamous incident was in 2001 Indian Wells when she was the victim of racist heckling in the final against Kim Clijster by a predominantly white, predominantly American crowd. Her father, Richard Williams and Serena heard a man shout, “I wish it was ’75; we’d skin you alive.” Traumatized by the event, Serena boycotted the event for 14 years resuming only in 2015.