"I feel like people think I'm mean," she said. "Really tough and really mean and really street. I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, 'Serena's really nice.' But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I'm black and so I look mean? That's the society we live in. That's life. They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I'm perfectly OK with having to be twice as good."
In an ironic, and depressing, turn of events, her feelings about race and experiences on the women's circuit have been twisted by a British tabloid to claim Williams was speaking directly about an alleged feud with Sharapova.
The Daily Star interpreted her nuanced thoughts as: "Maria Sharapova slammed by Serena Williams AGAIN: 'I'm twice as good as her' ".
The report went on to read: "Williams lashed out at her Russian rival as she bemoaned the perception that she's mean, saying it was down to race. 'I feel like people think I'm mean,' the 35-year-old said. 'Really tough and really mean and really street'."
The internet was not having it.
Here's what Serena ACTUALLY said: "They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women"
Here's what Serena ACTUALLY said: "They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women"— victoria sanusi 👸🏿 (@victoriasanusi) August 19, 2017
Here's what the Daily Star heard: https://t.co/gzvlb9D7WI
To recap. Back in 2004 a then-17-year-old Sharapova defeated Williams in the Wimbledon final.
Since then it's been promoted as a rivalry similar to Mayweather and McGregor, except with better sportsmanship.
Sharapova, who returned from a 15-month doping suspension in April, is soon to release her autobiography which canvases what happened behind-the-scenes of the match which saw Williams' reportedly "bawling" in the locker room. ???
"Not long after the tournament, I heard Serena told a friend - who then told me: "I will never lose to that little b???h again'," Sharapova wrote.
Williams' record against the Russian player is 19-2.
She has won 23 grand slams to Sharapova's five.
Williams, who is 35, is set to make her comeback to centre court at next year's Australian Open, three months after giving birth to her first child. She is keen to break Margaret Court's record of 24 big time wins.
"It's hard to figure out what the end of your tennis career should look like," Williams told Vogue.
"I used to think I'd want to retire when I have kids, but no. I'm definitely coming back. Walking out there and hearing the crowd, it may seem like nothing. But there's no better feeling in the world.
"Obviously, if I have a chance to go out there and catch up with Margaret, I am not going to pass that up. If anything, this pregnancy has given me a new power."
The story Fans upset Serena Williams was misquoted about her Sharapova rivalry first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.