Serena Williams Is Speaking Out About Being Drug-Tested More Than Her Peers

"Just test everyone equally."

Tennis star Serena Williams is using her platform to call out what she believes is unfair treatment which has led her to be drug-tested more than her fellow tennis players. During a press conference for Wimbledon on Sunday, she said that a recent Deadspin article alerted her to the discrepancy.


The article, published last week, detailed a June incident in which Williams missed an unannounced drug test at her home. Deadspin reported that Williams had been tested five times in 2018, which is "more than twice" as many times as other top female tennis players in the U.S., and also more than the top American male players. Some have interpreted this treatment as racist.

"I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else," Williams said, according to the Huffington Post, adding, "It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that. I just found it quite interesting."

In May, the tennis star tweeted that she had been tested twice in one week, saying she was "proud to participate to keep the sport clean." The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency told Deadspin that it "retains the right to test any athlete at any time and may target test athletes as USADA deems appropriate."

A spokeswoman for Williams told the site, "Over her 23-year career in tennis, Serena Williams 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." She added that the testing was "invasive and targeted."

Williams said during Sunday's press conference that she was fine with being tested as much as she has been, as long as other players receive the same treatment. 

"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," she said. "If that's testing everyone five times, let's do it. Let's be a part of 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."

Williams regularly speaks up about issues she cares about. In February, she wrote about dealing with a health scare after giving birth to her daughter last year, using the opportunity to advocate for mothers who don't have access to good health care. Then in May, she wore a catsuit to compete in the French Open, saying she hoped to inspire her fellow mothers.

Cover image: Leonard Zhukovsky /


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