*Australian Open slayer Serena Williams was trending on Twitter Tuesday morning for multiple reasons.
She advanced to the semifinals in Melbourne with a straight-sets victory (6-3, 6-3) over second-seeded Simona Halep, which sets up what is sure to be another epic showdown with Japan’s Naomi Osaka on Wednesday.
There was also this GOATish display of defense against Halep that went viral.
Is Serena superhuman or what? 😳 pic.twitter.com/dBzeCx1GaT
— chris evans (@notcapnamerica) February 15, 2021
But what really had folks buzzing, or rather fuming, was what happened in Williams’ previous Round 4 match against Aryna Sabalenka. Serena’s play was so suffocating that Sabalenka reacted at one point by screaming and slamming her racket. The video was tweeted by ESPNW with the caption, “Playing against Serena Williams can be frustrating.”
Playing against Serena Williams can be frustrating 😳 pic.twitter.com/Psea77EyRS
— espnW (@espnW) February 15, 2021
Another user, @CJ Fogler, tweeted the racket-slamming with the message, “Playing Serena is stressful and Sabalenka knows it.”
Twitter wondered why there was no talk about Sabalenka’s eruption being unprofessional, disrespectful, or worthy of a fine, all complaints that have been made against Williams for slamming a racket or expressing frustration on the court.
— ✨readings open✨Kemi thee Holistic High Priestess (@Kemiade) February 15, 2021
Yet when Serena reacted this way, they called her an angry and aggressive BW, fined her, and made racist caricatures of her. The announcers were far more understanding of this white woman being upset and even praised her for losing this match more than Serena who actually won it. https://t.co/t8ikYz11AU
— 𝐵𝑒𝒸𝒸𝒶 (@MJFINESSELOVERR) February 15, 2021
This is mad, because a few years back when Serena was upset and dared to show it… EVERYONE went off at her, yet this player displaying is FULL ON aggression at losing fairly and they’re giving her all the understanding. The double standard for Black athletes is crazy! https://t.co/kG8GhuNidG
— Dapo Adeola (@DapsDraws) February 15, 2021
The double standard against Black athletes was on blatant display, even among the analysts calling the match, according to several tweets. One user wrote of Sabalenka’s coverage, “I swear she got more praise losing this match than Serena did winning it, I was baffled.” Another quoted an analyst as saying of Sabalenka’s histrionics, “She’s doing a great job letting it out when she needs to.”
I watched this live, the announcers were *incredibly* understanding and even put it in a positive light.
“She’s doing a great job letting it out when she needs to”
I swear she got more praise losing this match than Serena did winning it, I was baffled.
— Kwesi 🇬🇭 (@RockofGibrltar) February 15, 2021
Below are two-minute highlights from Serena’s matches with Sabalenka and Halep, and her post-Halep match presser:
Aryna Sabalenka vs Serena Williams Match Highlights (4R) | Australian Open 2021
Serena Williams vs Simona Halep Match Highlights (QF) | Australian Open 2021
Serena Williams: “No one gets there by chance” press conference (QF) | Australian Open 2021