Saturday, July 24, 2021

10 Min Before Biggest Loss of Her Career, Serena Williams Learned her Sister’s Killer Had Been Paroled

Photograph by Alessandra Sanguinetti—Magnum Photos for TIME
Photograph by Alessandra Sanguinetti—Magnum Photos for TIME

*Serena Williams was blindsided with devastating news last month just minutes before enduring the most lopsided defeat of her career.

The tennis star revealed to Time, in an interview for a feature published Thursday, that she learned about 10 minutes before her match against Johanna Konta at the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic that the man who killed her sister Yetunde Price had been paroled.

“I couldn’t shake it out of my mind,” Williams told the publication.

Serena Williams of the United States serves gets ready by her chair before her match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during Day 2 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at Spartan Tennis Complex on July 31, 2018 in San Jose, California.
Serena Williams of the United States serves gets ready by her chair before her match against Johanna Konta of Great Britain during Day 2 of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic at Spartan Tennis Complex on July 31, 2018 in San Jose, California.

She lost 6-1, 6-0 to Konta in 52 minutes in that July 31 match. She said in her post-match interview: “I have so many things on my mind; I don’t have time to be shocked about a loss that clearly wasn’t at my best right now. When I was out there, I was fighting. That’s the only thing I can say.”

Williams told Time she was checking Instagram on her phone in a players area just before the match and saw that Robert E. Maxfield had been paroled three years short of his full sentence earlier in the year. Maxfield was convicted of fatally shooting Price, 31, a mother of three, in 2003.

“It was hard because all I think about is her kids,” Williams told Time, “and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.”

“No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behavior,” Williams continued. “It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me.”

Williams also talked about forgiveness but said, “I’m not there yet. I would like to practice what I preach, and teach [daughter] Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”

Read Serena’s Time magazine interview here.

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