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Serena Williams speaks out about Wozniacki impression

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Serena Williams has finally commented on Caroline Wozniacki’s now-infamous impression of her, for which many criticized the Dane. During an exhibition in Brazil earlier this month, Wozniacki stuffed towels under her shirt and skirt in an attempt to spoof Williams’ body type. It wasn’t the first time Wozniacki — or, for that matter, any tennis player — has done the impersonation that way, but the mainstream media picked up on the story and Wozniacki was accused of being racist.

USA Today contacted Williams, who is in Mauritius training with other members of the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy after minor toe surgeries. Williams said she hasn’t actually seen the clip, but she doesn’t have a problem with the stunt.

In an e-mail, the 15-time major winner said she saw no ill-intent from Wozniacki.

“I know Caro and I would call her my friend and I don’t think she (meant) anything racist by it,” she wrote from the island of Mauritius off the coast of Africa, where she is training in preparation for the Australia swing.

Serena also didn’t see why critics zeroed in on Wozniacki when other players, such as Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic, have done similar impressions. The fact is the caricature has been around for years — Williams jokes about her physique regularly, once referring to Rafael Nadal as her fellow “Booty Brother” — and the criticism of Wozniacki seems arbitrary.

“(Roddick) and (Djokovic) do it all the time and Caro does (it) and now it’s racist.??” she wrote.

That said, Williams did drop hints that it was time for players to find a new angle to poke fun at her to avoid this type of backlash.

Williams, however, hinted that while she was not personally bothered if others are then Wozniacki might at least be guilty of bad taste. “I must add if people feel this way she should take reason and do something different next time,” she concluded, punctuating her sentence with a smiley emoticon.

  • Published On Dec 20, 2012
  • 26 comments
    Daryl Sturdivant
    Daryl Sturdivant

    If only they could mimic her play.  Never can, never will.  That's what they really hate!

    Man2
    Man2

    Who the f cares? So black women tend to have big booties, is it wrong to point it out? Black women point out that white women are often flat-assed, which, to me, is clearly much worse (no one wants a flat-assed chick), and they get away with it.  Anyways, it doesn't matter, it's inconsequential.  I thought it was funny and indeed Caro's portrayal was pretty good, no one mentioned how good her imitation was...just another news story for the sake of a news story.

    GlennIverson
    GlennIverson

    If Serena -- who is known for her temper -- isn't offended by it, how can it possibly be racist?  This had nothing to do with race, it was one person playfully (in her mind) poking a little fun at another person.  The mainstream media -- and society in general -- should stop being so hyper-sensitive when it comes to perceived racism.  If it had been a black or Hispanic athlete poking fun at a white athlete, there wouldn't have even BEEN a story.    Kudos to Serena for her classy reaction to the story!

    Beth3
    Beth3

    Well played, Ms. Williams.

    craig1
    craig1

    Kudos to Serena - the oft emotional woman handled this situation with class and dignity - made points on her character to me and I'm sure countless others handling this non-story this way..

    HOFPufnstuf
    HOFPufnstuf

    This isn't racism.  It's Serana-ism.    She was poking fun at Serena.  Serena laughed (later).  The audience laughed.   you know how you know it's not racist?   When the subject of the joke is not offended.  Woz's "punishment"  should be to call Serena and take good natured crap from her.  Apparently they are friends, or friendly.

     

    At some point it has to be okay for a white person to make fun of a black person without it invoking the ghost of D.W Griffith, Al Jolson or Amos and Andy (Radio Version).

     

    Enough already.  We have a black president.   He was duly elected and then re-elected.  I'm pretty sure a lot of white people voted for him.    Can we stop being so sensitive and suspicious about perceived racial slights and get on with business.

     

    Randy M
    Randy M

    Racism is racism.  I am aware that 'Woz' mocked Serena, belittled her and dressed up in pads mimicking a way exaggerated chest and huge bottom.  Such sterotypes of negroid women are racist.  The only thing Wozniacki left out was blackface and that was probably because it would have been too much work.  Racism calls for banishment and fines.  Hate crimes call for jail time.  Why is this a difficult concept for some people to grasp?  Stand against racism people!  Demand Wozniacki be banished immediately!  It is fair and just.  Ignoring racist behavior is not the answer.  Question to you Racism enablers: what do you believe SHOULD be Wozniacki's punichment if you disagree with the punishments I cite?  I can be reasonable and meet you halfway.  How should she be punished??

    MatthewNeiger
    MatthewNeiger

    I think it's all innocent, but Caro has _such_ bad timing (comedically), that she can't fail to make trouble when trying to be the life of the party.  She's the David Brent of tennis.

    SamW
    SamW

    Could it be that Serena has had Sharapova's number in head to head play,, and Woz, losing in the exhibition match, tried to put a little good natured hex on Sharapova?..The only racist  involved are the ones who think its racist to begin with.

    stabmasterarson21
    stabmasterarson21

    Yah, this is getting old.  I'm sure they Woz wasn't trying to be racist or demeaning but we can never be 100% sure how our friend or acquaintance or whomever might take it so do something else is my suggestion!

    Randy M
    Randy M

    It is past due for sport to finally take firm, decisive measures against racism. The WTA should bar Caroline Wozniacki from professional tennis immediately and forever. Only then will athletes and their supporters know they can compete without fear of racist reprisals. Yes, most of the time Ms. Wozniacki may be a fine person, but most of the time a murderer isn't out killing people. It is the small percentage of the time that they do kill tht is the problem, and it is the small amount of time Ms. Wozniacki is being racist in front of a global audience that is the problem here. There isn't any such thing as being 'only a little racist' just like there is no such thing as being 'only a little bit pregnant'. Ms. Wozniacki needs to be banned from all levels of professional sport immediately and permanently. That will strike a real blow against racism and a strong show of support for humanity across the globe. Even better would be if she publicy apologized and self-removed herself from all future professional tennis affiliation. At least that would show she actually is the 'nice person' that white newscasters always claim she is.

    HollyManley
    HollyManley

    Woz's behavior was inappropriate.  Just as the incidences with Serena when she acted like a total witch on the court and was barely reprimanded for them.  I remember a time when tennis had a hell of a lot more class then it does now.  Whoops forgot Connor and McEnroe.  Maybe these ladies need to mature a bit like Jimmy and John did.

    jeanwsmith54
    jeanwsmith54

     @Randy M

     I agree.  Sometimes, we become so accustomed to racist behavior until we are unable to recognize it in its many forms around us.  I don't care how Serena handled the situation, it was still racist toward her and every other black female with large breast and a rather robust rear anatomy.   Our society has changed drastically and people are willing to tolerate all sorts of inappropriate, racist and immoral behavior.  The tennis players should not be allowed to poke fun at other players on the our because it has the potential to create riffs.  Just look at what happened between Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras a few years back.  Certainly making fun of someone's body type, something over which she has no control to a large degrees, is not a laughing matter.   This type of compassionless playing around should be stopped before we witness real violence on the court.  Haven't we learned any things from the unfortunate events that take place in our society?

    cd019
    cd019

     @Randy M I disagree completely, it was clearly mocking Serena not black woman.

    HOFPufnstuf
    HOFPufnstuf

     @Randy M Negroid?     lol.    That's the most racist sounding thing I've read in a while

    Randy M
    Randy M

     @MatthewNeiger

     There are a lot of people supporting Wozniacki here, so I will assume the overly padded stereotype was just bad humor....seriously bad humor by a European not familiar with American culture and some of the issues we face.  Not a hate crime.  I remove my demand she be disbarred from tennis.  Thanks for teaching me that I was overly focused on this issue guys.  That's what dialogue is all about.  Happy Holidays to all, including Ms. Wozniacki. 

    FrankB
    FrankB

     @Randy M  It is painfully obvious that YOU Randy have a RACIST attitude toward Danes. You should be banned from future comments for the betterment of humanity following a sincere apology for pushing an extremist agenda! This discrimination towards people of WHITE color must stop!

    WineGuerilla
    WineGuerilla

    umm, rant much?

     

    step away from the keyboard, take a breath, chill out, have some red wine or green tea, watch the sunset quietly, and ponder your own existance ....

     

     

    Randy M
    Randy M

     @cd019

     I agree.  I came to that conclusion after several people (including you) pointed out that I was overreacting and Wozniacki was just being playful about a friend of hers.  Thank you for pointing that out.  Dialogue works! 

    Randy M
    Randy M

     @FrankB  @Randy M

     Banned from comments?  Seriously Frank, have you heard of the First Ammendment?? 

     

    Dialogue is stronger than censorship.  I saw the video of Wozniacki, reached a conclusion, spoke about it and received some strong, consistent insight that showed me I was reading far too much into it and backed off.  If you read all the comments, you would have seen where I reversed my view, and acknowledged the wisdom of the people who told me I was overracting.  Then I wished Wozniacki a a Merry Christmas and said we should move on.  That is what happens when people can share their views and learn from each other.  Yet you condone censorship, the exact opposite process that would cause no one to learn anything.  Open dialogue builds societies, censorship destroys them.  I openly disagree with your comments Frank, but would defend to the death your right to say them.  That is what the First Ammendment is about.  You should read it sometime.   

    Randy M
    Randy M

    @WineGuerilla Jews prior to WWII also took a breath, chilled out, had some red wine, watched the sunet quiety and got slaughtered. When confronted by evils like racism, it is better to rant on, ring alarm bells and get racists banned from the sport. A mild price to pay compared to the price paid by the victims of racism. Perhaps she should be fined as well. We simply need to make the point that in NO WAY will racist behavior be tolerated.

    phillyroni
    phillyroni

     @Randy M  @Geno33  @WineGuerilla

     Racism is ALWAYS OK when it is directed at blacks. It has been that way from the beginning. BUTTT,, Now we are "out of our minds" when we suggest  a way to stop it. Don't let it bother you as Serena is rich and succesful on a level that most racist whites can only dream of.

    Randy M
    Randy M

    @Geno33 @WineGuerilla Campaigning against racism is out of one's mind?!? So then I take it that you endorse racism?? I don't see your emails mention anything about it. I believe there is a real possibility that Ms. Wozniacki may be charged with a hate crime. Compared to the people who have lost jobs, families, even their lives to racism, the idea that she should be banned, fined and tried for a hate crime is pretty mild. Perhaps a few months behind bars in Maricopa County under Sheriff Joe, a TRUE American, would humble her racist attitude a bit. i am wondering though about your views on racisim. Are you for it, or just not willing to address it? I'm calling you out on this. Your views on racism please.