American Taylor Townsend, ranked no. 73 in the world, says that she gets checked much more other than other players at tennis events because of the color of her skin. The 24 year old American Taylor Townsend was speaking on the Tennis United show last week where she spoke about racism and the protests across the United States in the aftermath of the killing of George Floyd.
“Even in the tennis world it is not a united place. We lose our identity of who we are because there can only be one. I’ve had people argue with me to tell me that I’m Coco Gauff. I’m not Coco Gauff but all of us look the same, all of us are built the same, everybody sees a black person and they assume it’s Venus or Serena (Williams) or Sloane (Stephens).
Even from the aspect you walk through and nobody stops you and I’m walking through and somebody has to check my bag, check my credential, check my coach’s bag, check my coach’s credential. It’s extra-security, extra-precautions that need to be taken to make sure I belong”.
Taylor Townsend on racism
“The black community has been suppressed, our identity has been robbed from us. Black men are being gunned down and killed in the middle of the street in broad daylight from police officers.
This is our reality and this is the reality that we’ve been having to deal with for so long, of people not being comfortable with you. This is our reality. It happens all the time - week in, week out, every tournament that I play in the States, overseas, it doesn’t matter”.
Taylor Townsend is among many tennis players who have spoken out about racism in recent days, including Serena Williams, Coco Gauff, Naomi Osaka, Frances Tiafoe among others. She reached a career-best WTA ranking of No. 61 in July 2018.
As a junior, she was named the ITF Junior World Champion in 2012 for finishing the year No. 1 in the girls' junior rankings, making her the first American to do so since 1982. In that year, she won the junior Australian Open titles in both singles and doubles, and three out of the four junior grand slam doubles titles in total.
At last year's US Open, Townsend scored his first win over a Top 10 player, with a win over World No. 4 Simona Halep, of Romania, in a third-set tiebreaker in the second round of the tournament.