*After winning her first round match at Wimbledon on Monday, Serena Williams shared her feelings about the Charleston massacre, calling the June 17 shooting of nine black worshipers by an alleged white supremacist “unspeakably sad,” and recalling how she refused to play in South Carolina while the Confederate flag flew above the state legislature.
In 2000, Williams pulled out of the Family Circle Cup in South Carolina in support of the NAACP’s call for a boycott over the Confederate flag flying above the state house dome.
The flag was eventually moved to a monument in the grounds later that year.
“I wouldn’t go to Charleston until the flag was removed. Once it was, I went there, and only after the Confederate flag was removed,” Williams said after beating Margarita Gasparyan of Russia in the first round.
“What happened in Charleston is a tragedy yet again to our country, the United States. It’s really unspeakable how sad it is and how much of a toll it can have.
“But you just have to continue to have faith, continue to believe, continue to be positive, continue to help people to the best of your ability.”
Williams said she was proud of how the community reacted to the Charleston massacre.
“Everyone was so positive and a lot of people went there. Obviously Obama. It was a very emotional time for many people of all races in the United States, and outside the United States,” she said.
Both Serena and her sister Venus won their first round singles matches at the All England Club on Monday and are slated to play each other in the fourth round, should each make it that far.
The pair on Tuesday pulled out of Wimbledon’s women’s doubles. No reason was immediately given for the withdrawal. Misaki Doi and Stephanie Vogt were promoted to take the sisters’ place in the draw.