Serena Williams has publicly called out the suspicious frequency with which she is drug tested, suggesting it’s a form of discrimination. This would mark the sixth time she has been drug tested this year, and comes just weeks after Deadspin found that she is the most-tested tennis player. In a Tuesday night tweet, she wrote that “it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination? I think so.” She then added that despite that, she is “ready to do whatever it takes to have a clean sport.”
...and it’s that time of the day to get “randomly” drug tested and only test Serena. Out of all the players it’s been proven I’m the one getting tested the most. Discrimination? I think so. At least I’ll be keeping the sport clean #StayPositive— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 25, 2018
But I’m ready to do whatever it takes to have a clean sport so bring it on. I’m excited.— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 25, 2018
Although her allegations are serious, she did find the time to joke about with one fan who suggested the testers are instead trying to steal her DNA to create a “future nation of tennis pros.”
I literally thought of that!!!— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) July 25, 2018
Earlier this month, Deadspin found that the 23-time Grand Slam champion has been tested five times so far just in 2018, which is more than double the amount of times other top American female tennis players have been tested. According to the United States Anti-Doping Agency's public athlete testing history database, she was also tested three times in 2017 and six times in 2016.
When approached with this information, a representative for Williams characterized the testing as “invasive and targeted,” adding that the tennis player “has never tested positive for any illegal substance despite being tested significantly more than other professional tennis players, both male and female—in fact, four times more frequently than her peers.” Still, the spokesperson said Williams will continue to comply with testing.
During a press conference a few days after the Deadspin report was published, Williams was directly asked about its findings and insisted she is not anti-testing, just pro-equality. “I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else,” she said. “It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that.”
“Tennis has given me so much. It’s such an amazing sport. I feel like equality, that’s all I’ve been preaching, it’s all about equality,” Williams continued. “If that’s testing everyone five times, let’s do it. It’s just about being equal and not centering one person out. Just due to the numbers, it looks like I’m being pushed out. Just test everyone equally.”
When asked by TMZ if he thought Serena was being discriminated against, Common responded in the affirmative, remarking, "If they're testing her more than anyone else, it's a reason for that. Whether it's conscious or subconscious and I would say conscious is the fact that she's a black woman and they're looking for some reason to be able to take her down and discredit her, but she's the queen."
After being forced to withdraw from the French Open due to an injury, Williams went all the way to the Wimbledon finals this year, where she eventually lost to Angelique Kerber. This is all less than a year before giving birth to her first daughter. “It’s obviously disappointing, but I can’t be disappointed. I have so much to look forward to. I’m literally just getting started,” she said in an interview after the match.
She is scheduled to play in the Rogers Cup in Montreal, which will start on Aug. 3.