Despite that the fact that during Serena Williams’ 20-plus-year career not once has she tested positive for any illegal substance, this year alone, she has been screened more than any other tennis player—female and male.
Mind you, she just started playing again this year after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia last September.
According to a report from Deadspin, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency database states that Williams has been tested five times in 2018, compared to Sloane Stephens being tested once; Venus Williams, Madison Keys and Coco Vandeweghe being tested twice; and Danielle Collins, Alison Riske, Bernarda Pera and Taylor Townsend was tested zero times. In addition, Williams was also tested more than any of the top five American male players in the game.
Sources told the sports website that on June 14, an agent for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency decided to drop by the GOAT’s Florida residence unannounced at 8:30am and refused to leave until Williams returned. After a confrontation between one of Williams’ assistants and the agent, the agent ended up leaving without testing her. It was also reported that Williams called Women’s Tennis Association CEO to complain about the incident.
Williams’ spokesperson told Deadspin that this aggressive testing is “invasive and targeted.”
“Over her 23-year career in tennis, Serena Williams has never tested positive for any illegal substance despite being tested significantly more than other professional tennis players, both male and female – in fact, four times more frequently than her peers. She has vocally supported, respected and complied with USADA testing throughout her entire career. While she willingly continues to submit to testing, there is absolutely no reason for this kind of invasive and targeted treatment.”
Of course people on Twitter had a lot to say about why it appears that Williams is being singled out:
This isn’t the first time that we’ve heard of Williams being overly tested. The tennis player took to Twitter weeks before the French Open to share that she was tested twice in a week.
Meanwhile the USADA asserts that they have the right to target players for a range of reasons.
“Factors considered in allocating tests include available resources, performance information, ranking data, sport and athlete specific analysis, biological and longitudinal analysis, injury information, training periods, the competition calendar, intelligence received concerning possible doping practices and research on doping trends. USADA retains the right to test any athlete at any time and may target test athletes as USADA deems appropriate. Consistent with safeguarding reasonable privacy concerns and serving as an investigative agency, USADA is committed to transparency and therefore regularly posts completed testing numbers on the USADA website. However, given that testing missions result from a wide variety of factors, USADA does not believe that useful conclusions can generally be drawn from comparing the testing frequency for athletes over particular time frames.”
Either way, no one has been able to answer why Williams is being targeted.