Create
Notifications

Twitter user accuses Navratilova, Evert & Shriver of being racist towards Serena Williams and her family, two of the legends respond

Martina Navratilova with Serena Williams after the latter won the 2015 French Open
Martina Navratilova with Serena Williams after the latter won the 2015 French Open
Stan
ANALYST

On a recent Twitter thread, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Pam Shriver were accused of being racist towards Serena Williams and her family at the start of the 23-time Major champion's career.

Navratilova and Evert both responded to these claims on Twitter, vehemently denying the allegations.

It all started with Alex Abad-Santos publishing an article on Vox, highlighting one of Martina Navratilova's comments on Richard Williams -- Venus and Serena Williams's father.

According to the article, Navratilova was quoted as saying in 2001 that she did not think racism existed in tennis. The American had also then insisted that the Williams sisters benefited from being of a colored race as they were treated with more leniency than white players.

“There’s no racism as far as I know,” said Navratilova in 2001. “I think that people have been treating them with kid gloves because they are African-Americans, and if they were white they would have been told off before and more.”

The 18-time Major champion was also quoted voicing her disapproval of the way in which Serena and Venus' father, Richard Williams, carried himself on tour.

“The girls are great. They’re great athletes, nice women. I like them a lot and their father seems to be getting in the way. That’s what I have to say about that, and he’s probably going to yell at me next time he sees me.” Navratilova added.
i went back and looked up old media coverage of the Williams family and it’s absolutely wild what people said to the press: vox.com/22790093/king-… https://t.co/x4qSXy29ZK

A Twitter user named Marilyn Cintron replied to Alex's post, blaming "American women commentators" including Navratilova, Evert, and Shriver for being racist towards Serena Williams and her family.

@alex_abads All of the American women commentators including @PHShriver @ChrissieEvert @Martina were racist towards the Williams family and routed for their opponents during the matches in the beginning. It's a shame they won't admit it but we all know it.

Martina Navratilova, who is generally quite active on Twitter, responded to the allegations. The 65-year-old denied being racist towards Serena Williams and her family, pointing out how she did not begin commentating until 2007.

Navratilova also explained that she would often be labeled "partial" towards both players while commentating, which for her signifies that she did her job well.

@MarilynCintron @alex_abads @PHShriver @ChrissieEvert I didn’t really commentate until 2007. So you are full of it. When I did, I got criticized for being partial to both players who I just commentated on- #impossible. Like Sharapova vs Williams, like Federer vs Djokovic. Etc.That’s when you know you did your job right. So stop it.

"I have gotten just as much criticism being too pro-Serena Williams": Chris Evert

Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on either side of Serena Williams after the latter won the 2014 US Open
Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on either side of Serena Williams after the latter won the 2014 US Open

18-time Grand Slam champion Chris Evert also replied on the Twitter thread, throwing her weight behind compatriot Martina Navratilova.

Evert claimed that she has been accused of having a bias towards Serena Williams, indicating that it is difficult to please every faction while commentating.

@Martina @MarilynCintron @alex_abads @PHShriver I agree with Martina. I actually have gotten just as much criticism being too pro SW…You can’t make everyone happy; that’s the nature of this job!

Edited by Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
Fetching more content...
App download animated image Get the free App now