No matter how many losses she incurs, tennis icon Serena Williams has vowed to keep fighting for equality until she goes to her grave.

According to Fox News, Serena Williams has not won a Grand Slam tournament since 2017, leading some to speculate whether she has focused too much of her time on causes not related to tennis.

“After her latest Wimbledon loss to Simona Halep, she was questioned about how much she focused on tennis,” reports the outlet. “Williams’ bid for a record-tying 24th major win came up short Saturday when Halep defeated her, 6-2, 6-2, in under an hour at the All England Club.”

At a press conference after the defeat, a reporter asked Williams her thoughts on those who say she has focused too much on “fighting for equality” and not enough on maintaining or improving her tennis game.

“The day I stop fighting for equality and for people that look like you and me will be the day I’m in my grave,” Williams said.

The reporter’s question was spurred by comments made by noted female tennis player Billie Jean King, who told Metro last month that Serena Williams should delegate some of her social justice-oriented tasks to focus more on tennis.

“She’s got business, a baby, she’s trying to help gender equity, particularly for women of color, she’s actually on the Billie Jean King leadership initiative, she and Venus are both advisors for it,” Billie Jean King said. “It makes winning a Slam] much harder. I would like to see her put everything else aside from that. She’s got people working on these things.”

Following the press conference, Billie Jean King said on Twitter that she never intended to persuade Serena Williams from fighting for equality. “I would never ask anyone to stop fighting for equality,” she wrote. “In everything she does, Serena shines a light on what all of us must fight for in order to achieve equality for all.”

Billie Jean King previously came to Williams’ defense when the tennis player went ballistic at the U.S. Open last year — where she openly screamed at the chair umpire Carlos Ramos for calling penalties she deemed unfair. After unsuccessfully demanding that the umpire issue her an “apology,” Williams became so enraged that she smashed her tennis racket into the ground. King said, however, that Serena Williams was a victim of the “patriarchy.”

“F]or [Williams], and for many other women who have experienced an abuse of power at their workplaces, there was more at stake,” said King. “Did Ramos treat Williams differently than male players have been treated? I think he did. Women are treated differently in most arenas of life. This is especially true for women of color.”

“I hope every single girl and woman watching yesterday’s match realizes they should always stand up for themselves and for what they believe is right. Nothing will ever change if they don’t,” she continued. “Women are taught to be perfect. We aren’t perfect, of course, and so we shouldn’t be held to that standard. We have a voice. We have emotions. When we react adversely to a heated professional situation, far too often, we’re labeled hysterical. That must stop.”

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