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World Clip of Venus Williams' Father Cutting Off Interviewer Viewed Over 5 Million Times

16:00  04 june  2021
16:00  04 june  2021 Source:   newsweek.com

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A clip of Venus Williams' father brusquely interrupting an interviewer, whom he felt was deliberately trying to undermine the confidence of his then-teenage daughter, has gone viral in the aftermath of Naomi Osaka's decision to withdraw from the French Open.

Venus Williams hitting a ball with a racket: Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her first round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia during day three of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 1 in Paris, France. © Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Venus Williams of the United States plays a forehand in her first round match against Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia during day three of the 2021 French Open at Roland Garros on June 1 in Paris, France.

On Monday, the world No. 2 announced she would "take some time away from the court" to protect her mental well-being and withdrew from the second Grand Slam tournament of the season with immediate effect.

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The decision came just a week after Osaka announced she would skip media obligations at the French Open because of the negative impacts speaking to the press was having on her mental health.

The four-time major winner did not attend her post-match press conference following her first-round victory against Patricia Maria Tig and was fined $15,000.

Her withdrawal was met with a wave of support from fellow players, including Serena Williams, and sparked fresh debate on the impact interviews can have on the mental health of athletes.

Conversely, the likes of Candace Owens and Piers Morgan have lambasted Osaka for avoiding media scrutiny and walking away from the tournament.

In the fallout from the Japanese's withdrawal from the French Open, a clip of a young Venus Williams being questioned about her self-belief has resurfaced on Twitter, and had racked up over five million views at the time of writing.

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Recorded in 1995 for ABC News' Day One, the interview took place shortly after Williams had turned professional in October 1994 at the age of 14.

Asked by John McKenzie whether she can beat her next opponent, Williams replies smiling: "I know I can beat her."

"You know you can beat her?," McKenzie quips back, sounding somewhat surprised by the response.

"Very confident."

Nodding along, Williams agrees.

"I'm very confident," she says.

McKenzie then probes Williams' confidence again.

"You say it so easily. Why?"

"Cause I believe it," she replies.

At this moment, the interview is interrupted by Richard Williams, who abruptly cuts off the interviewer.

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"What she said [...] she said it with so much confidence the first time," he says referring to his daughter's initial reply.

"But you keep going on and on."

Williams then admonishes McKenzie against asking the same question again.

"You've got to understand that you're dealing with an image of a 14-year-old child. And this child gonna be out there playing when your old a** and me gonna be in the grave," he says.

"When she say something, we done told you what's happening. You're dealing with a little Black kid, and let her be a kid," Williams says.

"She done answered it with a lot of confidence. Leave that alone!"

In hindsight, Williams was more than justified to feel confident about herself. Since turning professional in 1994, she has won seven Grand Slam singles tournaments, 14 Grand Slam doubles tournaments and four Olympic Gold medals.

The first African American player to top the world rankings in the Open Era, Williams topped both the singles and doubles rankings.

Asked for her thoughts on Osaka's withdrawal, Williams was in typically bullish mood on Tuesday.

'You'll never play as well as me': Venus weighs in on media row

  'You'll never play as well as me': Venus weighs in on media row American star Venus Williams said Tuesday she has never suffered at press conferences, telling French Open reporters: "I know every person asking me a question cannot play as well as me". Williams was responding to Naomi Osaka's belief that post-match media inquests were harmful to her mental health and equated them to "kicking a person when they're down". Osaka withdrew from Roland Garros on Monday. But the 40-year-old Williams said she had her own defence mechanism, developed over a career which has yielded seven majors.

"For me, personally, how I deal with it was that I know every single person asking me a question can't play as well as I can and never will," she told reporters following her straight-sets loss to Ekaterina Alexandrova in the first round of the French Open.

"So no matter what you say or what you write, you'll never light a candle to me.

"That's how I deal with it. But each person deals with it differently."

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