Tennis great Serena Williams offers Caitlin Clark advice, support: ‘They can’t do what you do’

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Tennis great Serena Williams is one of the most accomplished athletes of the 21st century. She won 23 grand slam singles titles during her prolific career, which is just one shy of the women’s tennis all-time record.

She retired after the 2022 US Open, citing her desire to spend more time with family and focus on other ventures. Her docuseries “In the Arena: Serena Williams,” premiered at this year’s Tribeca Festival in New York City.

At one point during the festival, the tennis champion was asked if she had any thoughts she was willing to share about a fellow female athlete — Caitlin Clark.

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FILE – Serena Williams arrives at the 54th NAACP Image Awards on Feb. 25, 2023, at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, Calif.  (Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP, File)

Williams advised the WNBA rookie to keep “doing what she’s doing.”

“I just love that she tried to stay grounded and that she doesn’t… look at her social [media],” Williams told The Associated Press on the red carpet. “I get it. I don’t either. And I think it’s so important to continue doing what she’s doing.”

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Williams also suggested that some of the negativity directed at Clark stemmed from jealousy.

“And no matter what other people do, if people are negative then it’s because they can’t do what you do… basically,” Williams noted. “And hopefully she’ll continue to do what she’s doing.”

Caitlin Clark dribbles the ball

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever dribbles the ball during the game against the Atlanta Dream on June 13, 2024 at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Clark’s name has been featured in countless sports headlines throughout the first several weeks of her first season in the WNBA. 

Much of the conversation about Clark has centered around the level of physicality the rookie has faced during her first handful of professional basketball games. 

“I think everybody is physical with me. They get away with things that probably other people don’t get away with,” Clark said on May 28 after the Fever dropped a game to the Los Angeles Sparks.

Caitlin Clark walks down the court

Caitlin Clark #22 of the Indiana Fever looks on during the game against the Connecticut Sun on June 10, 2024 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. (Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Earlier this week, Clark learned that she would not be traveling to Paris next month to play with the US women’s national basketball team in the Olympics.

Diana Taurasi, Kahleah Copper, A’Ja Wilson, Chelsea Gray, Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner, Alyssa Thomas, Napheesa Collier, Jewell Loyd, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Sabrina Ionescu made up the 12-woman roster.

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Clark leads rookies in a variety of statistical categories. She is averaging 15.6 points and six assists over her first 14 WNBA games.

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