Serena Williams Defends Nike Amid Controversy Over Payment Of Pregnant Athletes

The tennis superstar said the company is learning and growing with the times.

Serena Williams
Photo Credit: Getty Images

| May 28 2019,

2:09 pm

Tennis icon Serena Williams addressed Nike's maternity controversy during the French Open, reassuring critics the sportswear giant will take a different approach to its treatment of pregnant athletes going forward. 

In an effort to calm tensions, the 23-time Grand Slam winner said she was well-aware Nike needed to make changes to their policies. 

The backlash from Montaño and other athletes forced Nike's hand. According to Yahoo, Nike announced they will no longer freeze sponsorship payments for pregnant athletes. 

“They want to support women that want to have families and that want to be moms. I’m glad that statement was made, and I know that therefore and going forward, they’re doing better," she said. "That’s what it’s about. It’s about learning from mistakes and doing better.”

Last year, the 37-year-old was defended by the sneaker giant following the catsuit ban at the French Open


Williams won the prestigious tennis event in the bold design all the while standing by her sponsor. She reiterated to the media that Nike will reevaluate policies to accommodate all athletes.  

“We have to look at old policies and change them. And I think that Nike wanted to do that, and they started doing that," she said. "And so I think they made a really bold statement by doing that with me, and I think they’re going to — I know, actually, that they’re going to continue to make that statement.”