Game, set, match! Venus Williams kept it real while answering questions with fellow tennis star Jamie Murray at a press conference over the weekend — especially when asked about sister Serena Williams.
Venus, 42, and Murray, 36, played in the mixed doubles competition at Wimbledon this year, winning their first-round match against Michael Venus and Alicja Rosolska on Saturday, July 2. Following the victory, one reporter asked the duo whether they wanted to go head-to-head against Serena, 40, and Jamie’s brother, Andy Murray, in the tournament.
“Are you in it to win it or is it the first target to get past the third round where Serena and Andy became a cropper?” the reporter said, per a video from the BBC. The question referred to Serena and Andy’s respective defeats in earlier rounds of the singles competition at Wimbledon.
Venus then looked at Jamie in disbelief. “What kind of question is that?” she clapped back. “We’re in it for a stroll. Like, come on!”
“Are you in it for the experience or are you going to go all the way?” the reporter went on to ask, to which Venus replied, “Are you going to write a good article or just a halfway decent one?” as Jamie laughed.
Unfortunately, Venus and the British athlete lost in the following round. They were unable to convert five match points in a marathon third-set tiebreaker against Alicia Barnett and Johnny O’Mara.
Wimbledon marked the first tournament for Venus in more than 10 months. Though she didn’t walk away a champion, the California native — along with her sister — is known as one of the greatest in tennis history. Throughout the decades in her sport, Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles and four Olympic gold medals. Venus, for her part, joins her sibling as the only female tennis player in the Open Era to garner Olympic gold medals in both the singles and doubles categories.
Earlier this year, the sisters went viral after their tennis playing was called into question. On March 13, filmmaker Jane Campion mentioned the sports stars — who were attending the 2022 Critics’ Choice Awards in support of King Richard, a movie based on their father’s life — while accepting the Best Director trophy for The Power of the Dog at the ceremony.
“Venus and Serena, you’re such marvels,” the Bright Star director, 67, said on stage. “However, you don’t play against the guys like I have to.”
The comment drew intense ire from fans, who pointed out the false dichotomy of the idea that the Williamses are only as successful as they are because they don’t compete against men.
One day later, the New Zealand native issued a statement addressing the controversy. “I made a thoughtless comment equating what I do in the film world with all that Serena Williams and Venus Williams have achieved. I did not intend to devalue these two legendary Black women and world-class athletes,” Campion noted on March 14, per Variety. “The fact is the Williams sisters have, actually, squared off against men on the court (and off), and they have both raised the bar and opened doors for what is possible for women in this world.”
The Piano filmmaker continued: “The last thing I would ever want to do is minimize remarkable women. I love Serena and Venus. Their accomplishments are titanic and inspiring. Serena and Venus, I apologize and completely celebrate you.”
The athletes didn’t publicly comment on Campion’s remark.