Serena Williams: 'It's been a struggle to love my body'

'Now curves are in and I'm happier in myself'

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The Independent Online

Serena Williams has spoken about the “struggle” involved in learning to love and accept her body amid the scrutiny she faces from being in the public eye.

The tennis champion, who has won a total of 21 grand-slams in her career, spoke candidly about comparing her body types to other athletes to The Times magazine.

“When I was younger, it was hard seeing all these thin athletes when I had more muscular curves and was big-busted.

“Just try running with DDs that are bouncing seven inches up and down! It’s distracting, not to mention dangerous, because you can tear ligaments.”

The female world number one also spoke of the body-shaming “flak” she has received but has now learnt to be comfortable with her body over the course of her 20-year career.

“I know I get flak for my physique and it has been a struggle to love my body, but now curves are in and I’m happier in myself.”

Williams, 34, also criticised the scrutiny of the appearance of women, saying they face “so many impossible ideals”.

Accepting an award for Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year last month, Williams spoke of the people who have put her down either because she was a woman, black or looked different.

“I’ve had people put me down because I didn’t look like them — I look stronger. I’ve had people look past me because of the colour my skin. I’ve had people overlook me because I was a woman.”

Williams, who was photographed in this year’s game-changing Pirelli Calendar, told the Times: “It’s important for me to get across that there’s more than one way to look amazing.”