Serena Williams’ stock went up this week and you may not have even read about it.
It wasn’t a victory on the court that increased her value. Instead, it was a perfect return of a tough serve directed at her through the press. Recently, fellow American tennis player Sloane Stephens trashed Williams in an interview for being unfriendly and for unfollowing her on Twitter (which I’m sure we all agree is an egregious offense.)
Had Williams responded with anything that could be remotely construed as mean or snarky, the media would have had a field day with it. The spat would have been played out in the press for months. Instead, Williams took the high road with the following response:
“I’m a big Sloane Stephens fan and always have been. I’ve always said that I think she can be the best in the world. I’ll always continue to think that and always be rooting for her.”
Game. Set. Match.
Williams played it perfectly. Her brand is not only intact after being verbally attacked, it has actually been enhanced. A media interview that could have cost her a bundle in endorsements instead became a quote that improved her image and will indirectly net her millions down the road.
Well played, Serena.
Here’s the story in tennis.si.com: