Serena Williams took to Instagram to respond to Ilie Nastase’s remarks about her unborn child.

Serena Williams said she felt it was important to stand up to Ilie Nastase, not just for herself but for other female tennis players.

Nastase made racist comments about Williams’ unborn child last week. On Sunday, the International Tennis Federation provisionally suspended him from the Fed Cup, a day after he verbally abused British player Johanna Konta, captain Anne Keothavong and the umpire.

“I think they were very inappropriate comments,” Williams said during her TED talk in Vancouver on Tuesday.  “Not only that, I’ve been really supportive of my peers and the people that I work with. I’ve been a pro for almost 20 years.

“For me it’s really important to hold women up. It’s something, these young women they’ll come to the locker room, they’ll want to take pictures with me. For me, I want to be a good leader and a good example for them.  Not only did he have rude things to say about me and then my peers, I felt it was important for us to stand up for each other and to stand up for myself.”


On Monday, Williams responded on social media to Nastase’s comments, quoting Maya Angelou’s poem Still I Rise.

“I am not afraid unlike you,” Williams wrote in an Instagram post. “You see, I am no coward. Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words … you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still like air, I rise.”