Saturday, September 18, 2021

Double Standard: Serena Williams’ Racket-Slamming White Opponent Praised for ‘Letting Out’ Emotion (Watch)

Aryna Sabalenka and Serena Williams-120829
Aryna Sabalenka and Serena Williams at the Australian Open

*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.

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.”

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.

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.”

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

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