Motherhood, it seems, has made Serena Williams especially reflective.
Williams, who gave birth to her first daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. earlier this month, posted a letter to her own mother on Tuesday that commended her mom on displaying strength and class even as Williams faced body shamers and “haters.” The note appeared on Reddit, the social platform co-founded by Williams’s fiancé Alexis Ohanian.
The note by the tennis star follows the publication of a book titled Unstoppable by rival Maria Sharapova that references Williams more than 100 times and comments on Williams’s “thick arms and thick legs.” The letter also seems to allude to remarks by tennis commentator John McEnroe, a former pro player, who said earlier this year that Williams would rank 700th if she played on the men’s circuit.
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“But mom, I’m not sure how you did not go off on every single reporter, person, announcer and quite frankly, hater, who was too ignorant to understand the power of a black woman,” Williams wrote.
Williams has been especially outspoken in recent months, responding publicly to McEnroe and to a racist comment allegedly made by Romanian tennis legend Ilie Nastase. She also wrote an op-ed in Fortune in July to mark Black Women’s Equal Pay Day and to call attention to black women’s wage gap.