Serena Williams rebukes Billie Jean King: My fight for equality ends when 'I'm in my grave'

United States' Serena Williams celebrates defeating Czech Republic's Barbora Strycova during a women's singles semifinal match on day ten of the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London, Thursday, July 11, 2019. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)
Serena Williams celebrates defeating Barbora Strycova during a women's singles semifinal match at Wimbledon. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Serena Williams has no plans to give up fighting for equality any time soon.

Speaking after her 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Simona Halep in the women’s singles final at Wimbledon, Williams offered a sharp rebuttal to Billie Jean King’s previous comments calling on her to focus solely on tennis.

When asked about King’s comments, Williams said, “The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I'm in my grave.”

Following her comments, King took to Twitter to clarify what she meant when she called on Williams to focus on tennis.

Billie Jean King calls on Serena to ‘give up being a celebrity’

Mid-Wimbledon, King spoke to BBC about Williams’ quest to break Margaret Court’s all-time grand slam record.

In the interview she opined that Williams should focus on tennis if she’d like to match or break Court’s record.

"You never count her out. Every time she wins one more match helps. Quite frankly, if I were Serena, I would give up being a celebrity for a year and a half," King said. "If she wants to win titles, if she wants to beat records, that's the question. I don't know what she wants. No more Met Galas. Just stop all this insanity because she is trying to be everything.”

King added, “Especially at her age, you have to give up all these peripheral things, if you want to do this. If she is quite happy the way she is then fine.”

The comments by King follow a pre-Wimbledon interview in which she discussed Williams’ many ventures outside of tennis, including motherhood and her fight for equality.

“She’s got business, a baby, she’s trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of color.” King told the WTA.

Those ventures, according to King, make winning on the tennis court much harder.

“But it makes it much harder,” King said. “I would like her to put everything else aside, because she's got people working on those things.”

Williams has long been a champion for equality, having spoken on the issue many times.

Her comments are in line with previous statements and show that no matter how tough the loss, she will always fight for women around the world.

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