Serena Williams has responded to Sloane Stephens’ criticism of her after the young rising star implied Williams was unfriendly.
“They think she’s so friendly and she’s so this and she’s so that — no, that’s not reality!” Stephens told ESPN The Magazine, adding that Williams hadn’t said a word to her since the pair had met in January’s Australian Open (where Williams lost).
“She’s not said one word to me, not spoken to me, not said hi, not looked my way, not been in the same room with me since I played her in Australia,” ranted Stephens in the unusually frank interview. “And that should tell everyone something, how she went from saying all these nice things about me to unfollowing me on Twitter.”
Serena Williams’ response was, perhaps typically for a modern sports professional, far less candid. When Sports Illustrated asked the 31-year-old about Stephens’ comments, Williams seemed keen to put the dispute behind her:
“I don’t really know. I don’t have many thoughts. I’m a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been. I’ve always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I’ll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her.”
“I really just always wish her, and anyone, really, especially from America, the best. We don’t have that many American players, so it’s always exciting to see so many young players doing so well.”
Williams’ comeback doesn’t exactly address Stephens’ comments (the unfriendliness, the Twitter unfollow), and there’s a sense she’d prefer to stop this tiff from escalating.
What do you make of Serena Williams’ response? Disingenuous fence-sitting or level-headed diplomacy?