Williams is the world’s richest self-made female athlete, has been ranked the world No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association eight times, and has won the third most women’s doubles Grand Slam titles with her sister Venus. She’s also playing a highly-anticipated mixed doubles game with fellow champion Andy Murray in what will be a historical game on Saturday (6 Juy).
But still, the journalist thought the big scoop of the press conference was finding out Williams’ participation in baby Archie’s christening, because she’s friends with his mum Meghan.
In an excellent response, Williams pointed out that she was working, so wouldn’t be able to make it.
“No, I’m working on Saturday, but yeah, she understands work,” she said, in case anyone in the room had failed to understand the integral part Wimbledon plays in her career.
It came just days after the tennis star was asked what kind of baby advice she was doling out to her friend. Her concise response pointed out the absurdity of being constantly asked questions about Meghan’s baby, by explaining that she really doesn’t need any unsolicited parenting advice.
“I never pass on words of wisdom because I feel like, everyone, when they have a kid, especially when you just have a baby, it’s so difficult to just be,” Williams told the BBC. “It’s just like get through the first three, four months and then we can talk.”
What makes these questions even more infuriating is that Meghan and her husband Prince Harry have already made it crystal clear they want to keep their son’s christening private. The small ceremony will take place in the Private Chapel at Windsor on Saturday and is expected to only be attended by a select group of close friends and family.
Whether you agree with this decision or not: their baby son’s privacy must be respected.
So, putting Williams in a position where she’s expected to expose her friend’s private details is wrong. But, also: why would anyone question if she’s taking time out of Wimbledon to attend a christening? Would Andy Murray be asked the same if his friend’s baby was being christened the same day as an important match? And did Williams really need to point out that she needs to focus on just doing her job this weekend?
Sexism in sport is nothing new, but this year’s Wimbledon does seem to be attempting to at least tackle the issue.
Firstly, the All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), who are in charge of the championships at the tournament, have ruled that female players can no longer be referred to by their marital status by umpires when they win matches. The move means that female players will now only be addressed by their last name when they win matches rather than also being referred to as “Miss” or “Mrs” – a privilege previously only given to male players.
And you only need to look at teen star Cori “Coco” Gauff - who has smashed her way to the fourth round -to see that young female players are being taken a lot more seriously. Forbes reports that she is predicted to earn more than $1m (£790,000) in 2019 thanks to group of sponsors.
Perhaps one other suggestion is ensuring that female players aren’t subjected to questions about anything other than the game they are there to play.