Former Arsenal star Ian Wright has defended Serena Williams and Venus Williams, criticizing Martina Navratilova for questioning the sisters’ bodies in the past. Wright, who opened up about the issue of body shaming in tennis, said he was disappointed when he heard Navratilova’s comments.
The former soccer player admitted that he was a big fan of Navratilova when he was young, but her comments about the Williams sisters when they were rising in the sport did not sit well with him. Wright expressed his thoughts on a recent episode of his podcast Wrighty’s House.
“One of the most disappointing things I heard was listening to (Martina) Navratilova – who I really adored when I was young – listening to how Martina Navratilova lambasting Serena and Venus about their shapes, their bodies, and how they are ‘manly’, which is what she went through,” Ian Wright pointed out.*
*There is no evidence that Navratilova has body shamed the Williams sisters.
The former Premier League champion went down memory lane, recollecting how Venus Williams was the first of the sisters to make it big and showcase her talents before Serena Williams joined her sister in dominating women’s tennis.
Wright further hailed them for overcoming a lot of difficulties growing up in a tough neighborhood in Compton, California, and eventually beating the odds.
“Venus was the one that blasted through, you can’t forget it. Beads in her hair, she blasted through, and then we heard that she’s got a sister as well who’s coming…They started playing on those tennis courts in Compton, with the drug dealers and everything,” Wright said further.
“An amazing body that’s very very strong” – Martina Navratilova hails Serena Williams in light of the American’s retirement
Martina Navratilova has lauded Serena Williams for working hard on her body and fitness to stay competitive for so many years at the highest level of the sport. Navratilova recently sat down with the WTA to talk about all things Serena Williams and expressed her views on Williams’ longevity in tennis, marked by a 27-year-long professional career that is set to end with her retirement.
Navratilova further stressed that while training and recovery methods are a lot more advanced now compared to her playing days, Williams has done a good job in managing her own career and schedule over the years.
“She’s got an amazing body that’s very, very strong,” Navratilova said of Serena Williams. “And she worked hard to improve on that body.”
“Obviously, these days the training and recovery is so much more sophisticated than it was in my day. It’s easier for players to have that longevity. But surfaces are still hard and everybody’s hitting the ball hard. Serena hasn’t played as many matches as we did, but she paced herself really well,” the 18-time Grand Slam singles champion added.
Williams bowed out of the 2022 US Open with a third-round loss against Ajla Tomljanovic, which was quite likely the final match of her career.