Tennis champion Serena Williams has wiped away tears in a rare interview where she has addressed her sister Yetunde’s murder.
Serena Williams has wiped away tears in a rare interview where she has addressed the murder of her sister Yetunde.
The 40-year-old appeared on Will Smith’s Red Table Talk show streamed on Facebook as part of a promotional tour for her new Biopic movie surrounding the story of the famous Williams family.
The film, King Richard, shows how Serena and sister Venus grew to become two of the greatest players in the history of the sport from very humble beginnings.
The true star of the film is father Richard, portrayed by Smith, as a quirky, demanding coach that helped his daughters transform into champions with a combined 30 grand slam singles titles.
The film also portrays the most traumatic chapter the family has known — the shooting death of Serena and Venus’ big sister Yetunde Price in 2003 at the age of 31.
She was shot dead while sitting in a car with her fiancee in Los Angeles’ notorious gang-violence area of Compton.
Robert Maxfield, who was convicted in 2006 for the 2003 murder, was released from prison in 2018.
The family, including mum Oracene and sisters Lyndrea and Isha Price, became emotional during the interview with Smith when speaking about how Yetunde’s story is told in the film.
It was alleged at the time Yetunde was shot in the back of the head when Maxfield opened fire with an assault rifle just after midnight on September 14 as Yetunde sat chatting with her boyfriend in a four-wheel-drive which was parked out the front of an alleged crack house that was being guarded by members of the Southside Compton Crips gang.
Serena was unable to put her emotions into words during the interview and was seen wiping away tears.
“Oh, I think I cried the whole time,” she said of the film.
“Whenever she came on film, I just — personally, I just started, like — I mean, even still.”
Oracene admitted it was a chapter the family did not want to remember.
“It was a quiet moment I think,” she said.
“Because we know how it was, and then… it was just something that you kind of try and put in the back of your mind and don’t want to remember.”
Serena, in the Red Table Talk interview has also addressed some of the other tough moments of her career, including the infamous 2001 Indian Wells controversy.
She says she still deals with “mental anxiety” from the tournament 20 years ago, The New York Post reports.
Russian tennis player Elena Dementieva had accused Serena’s father, Richard of manipulating matches between Serena and sister Venus. Those allegations were amplified when Venus withdrew from her semi-final match against Serena with a knee injury, just minutes before it started. Serena then defeated Kim Clijsters in the finals.
Serena was met with boos and lewd shoutouts from the crowd when she took the court at Indian Wells Tennis Garden for the match with Clijsters.
“Even when I went back 14 years later, it was very traumatising,” Serena said about her 2015 return.
The tournament at Indian Wells is one of the top hardcourt events of each season, which the top players generally attend.
“Talk about post-traumatic stress and mental anxiety. I remember sitting in the bathroom thinking, ‘Wait, I’m not gonna go back. I just don’t think I should do this. What if they start booing again?’ It was really hard for me,” Serena said.
Serena was greeted with loud cheers and a standing ovation when she stepped back onto the court at Indian Wells. It was an emotional scene from fans to the tennis legend tearing up.
Serena and Venus are both executive producers on the King Richard film project.