It was recently revealed that Serena Williams has been tested by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) more frequently than other tennis players in 2018. And now the tennis champion is admitting that she didn’t know that she was being treated differently.
The seven-time Wimbledon champion told journalists at a recent press conference that she did not realize that she was being unfairly targeted by USADA until a recent Deadspin article that detailed a recent obtrusive incident in which the Williams was paid an unannounced visit by an anti-doping agent.
“I never knew that I was tested so much more than everyone else. Until I read that article, I didn’t realize it was such a discrepancy with me as well as against the other players that they listed, at least the American players—both male and female,” Williams said during a Wimbledon press conference on Sunday.
She continued: “It would be impossible for me to not feel some kind of way about that. I just found it quite interesting.”
Deadspin’s report last week revealed Williams has been tested five times this year ― more than double the number of tests for other top American women’s tennis players, the Huffington Post reports.
The Deadspin article recounted an incident in which Williams missed a recent drug test. Williams said Sunday that an anti-doping tester showed up 12 hours earlier than the time they had agreed upon, and she wasn’t able to get to the meeting in time.
According to ESPN, Williams is required to let USADA know her whereabouts for a one-hour period of her choosing every day. But testers have the right to also make unannounced visits outside the one-hour window.
This particular agent showed up 12 hours early and eventually left without testing her as she was not home.
“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,” a spokeswoman for Williams told Deadspin.
But Williams emphasized the fact that she does not mind being tested.
“I’m OK with [the amount of tests I’ve had this year]. Literally, verbatim, I said, I’m going with that, as long as everyone is being treated equally. That’s all I care about. I despise having people in our sport that aren’t being honest,” Williams said. “I’m totally OK with testing and I encourage it. What I want to know, if everyone is getting tested, that we are really working to keep this sport clean.”