Following her defeat to Simona Halep in the Wimbledon ladies' singles final on Saturday, Serena Williams was asked about pundits suggesting her on-court efforts would be better served by focusing less on off-court endeavors such as gender equality.
The 23-time Grand Slam champ summarily dismissed those recommendations.
"The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me (women) will be the day I'm in my grave," Williams said before exiting her post-match press conference, per SNY's Chris Williamson.
The question posed to Williams specifically referenced recent comments Billie Jean King made about the 37-year-old's approach as she continues to search for a record-tying 24th major singles title.
"She’s got business, a baby, she’s trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of color," King said in June, according to Metro's George Bellshaw.
" ... This is just a wish I have. It’s not fair to her, but I wish she would just make a commitment for the next year-and-a-half to two years and just say, 'I’m going to absolutely devote what’s necessary for my tennis so when I look in the mirror when I’m older that I can go back in my mind and know I gave everything I had and be happy.' But if she’s happy doing it this way, it’s fine. It’s not about us."
The 75-year-old King, of course, is one of the most recognizable social advocates in tennis history. Most notably, she founded the Women's Tennis Association in 1973 as a response to the massive pay disparity between men and women on the tour.
Since going on maternity leave following Grand Slam No. 23 at the Australian Open in 2017, Williams has reached three major finals but ultimately hasn't been able to clear that last hurdle.
Still, others have encouraged Williams to keep fighting. In a personal essay published in Harper's Bazaar earlier this week, Williams detailed how current world No. 2 Naomi Osaka challenged her to "continue trailblazing" when Williams reached out to apologize for her part in last year's contentious US Open final.