Serena Williams is an incredible athlete and woman, but like the rest of us, she obviously has her moments of exhaustion, frustration, and feelings of “When can I stop working and crawl back into bed?” This is what happened following her intense quarterfinals match against her sister, Venus Williams, on Tuesday, when Williams dutifully attended a post-game press conference.
Williams was undoubtedly fatigued following a physically tolling match, and she looked noticeably uninterested in being at the conference (can we blame her?). A male reporter noticed this and proceeded to ask her why she didn’t have a smile plastered on her face for the public. “You just won a match. Normally you smile when you win you come here, you laugh,” the reporter observed. “What happens tonight? Is just because you beat Venus or because you’re thinking about what is going next? What’s wrong?”
Still unsmiling, Williams gave it to him straight: “It’s 11:30. To be perfectly honest with you, I don’t want to be here. I just want to be in bed right now. I have to wake up early to practice. I don’t want to answer any of these questions and you keep asking me the same questions. It’s not really—you’re not making it super enjoyable.”
Her honesty was surprising and incredibly refreshing, as women are too often told they must smile in all situations, lest they exhibit signs of unhappiness or dissatisfaction. But Serena Williams is arguably one of the greatest athletes in the world right now, and if she doesn’t want to smile because she’d rather be in bed than at a press conference, she should be able to without being called out for it.