Does The Ghost of Racism Haunt Tennis Too?
The unfortunate death of George Floyd has once again stirred up the waves of protest and agitation against racism worldwide. Evidently, the fury has hit the popular sport that led the emerging tennis star Taylor Townsend to share her experiences with Tennis United. She affirmed the existence of huge discrimination based upon race or skin color in the gentlemen’s sport.
Taylor opined that the success bagged by Williams sisters and players like Sloane had been unable to bring about a change in the mindset of people for the other Black players. Sadly, they still strive to carve out a niche for themselves in the game. She stated, “In the tennis world, it is not a united place. We lose our identity of who we are because there can only be one.”
Townsend further added, “I’ve had people argue with me to tell me that I’m Coco Gauff. I’m not Coco Gauff. But all of us look the same. All of us are built the same. Everybody sees a black person and assume it’s Venus or Serena or Sloane. I have been literally all of them down the list except for myself.”
“This Has Been Happening For So Long And How It’s Wrong.” – Taylor Townsend
The 24-year-old player also disclosed that she and her coach have to bear with the security check-ups at the tournaments and other authentication procedures every now and then just for being different in color while their white counterparts easily pull-off all the formalities. “This is our reality. Even from the aspect, you walk through and nobody stops you. On the other hand, I’m walking through and somebody has to check my bag, check my credential, check my coach’s bag, check my coach’s credential,” Taylor Townsend told.
When enquired she painfully revealed “It’s extra-security and extra-precautions. This needs to be taken to make sure I belong. This is our reality. It happens all the time week in and week out every tournament that I play in the States or overseas, it doesn’t matter.”
“The ball is continuing to roll and taking the time to be still and silent and really think about how this has been happening for so long and how it’s wrong.”
Taylor considers the inhumane death of Floyd as an eye-opener for the rest of the world. She believes that no-doubt we all are preoccupied in our lives yet incidents like such give us a reason to stop and ponder for a while. However, the talented player is quite optimistic and does wish the world to be a safer place to live in for everyone.
“This is something that you can’t ignore when we are going about our lives playing tennis at tournaments traveling the world, all these things I think is easy to get caught up in that. Not necessarily saying that you forget what happens,” Taylor Townsend Concluded.