There were two winners at Serena Williams’ U.S. Open match against Maria Sharapova on Monday night: Williams — who handily defeated the Russian player in straight sets in less than an hour — and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
Fans seem to think that Ohanian took a jab at Sharapova by wearing a black “D.A.R.E.” shirt underneath his jacket, which he only unzipped after the match was over and Williams had won 6-1, 6-1.
Underneath the “D.A.R.E.” acronym, which stands for “Drug Abuse Resistance Education,” reads the old anti-drug program’s famous phrase, “Keeping Kids Off Drugs.”
It appears Ohanian wore the shirt in a subtle dig at Sharapova’s two-year ban from tennis. In 2016, the International Tennis Federation found that Sharapova had violated its anti-doping rules by taking and testing positive for the banned substance meldonium for undisclosed health reasons.
Intentional shade or not, fans loved Ohanian’s support for his wife:
As writer Roxane Gay tweeted in response to an article about the shirt, “This is marriage excellence.”
Williams and Sharapova have had a contentious relationship over the years, but there is no rivalry on the court, as Williams has soundly bested the Russian athlete in nearly all of their contests.
In Sharapova’s 2017 autobiography, “Unstoppable: My Life So Far,” the tennis player suggested she had a rivalry with Williams and spoke disparagingly of the American in passages throughout her book.
She said the “rivalry” began after her 2004 victory over Williams at Wimbledon.
“Mostly I think she hated me for hearing her cry,” the 32-year-old wrote. “Not long after the tournament, I heard Serena told a friend ― who then told me ― ‘I will never lose to that little b**** again.’”
She also suggested that Williams hated her for being “skinny,” and included a racially charged description of the U.S. player as much bigger than she is ― though Sharapova is at least four inches taller than Williams.
“First of all, her physical presence is much stronger and bigger than you realize watching TV,” Sharapova wrote in her book. “She has thick arms and thick legs and is so intimidating and strong. And tall, really tall.”
“I believe that the other girls in the locker room will say, ‘Serena’s really nice.’ But Maria Sharapova, who might not talk to anybody, might be perceived by the public as nicer. Why is that? Because I’m black and so I look mean?” Williams said. “That’s the society we live in. That’s life.”
But Williams doesn’t let her get it down.
“They say African-Americans have to be twice as good, especially women. I’m perfectly OK with having to be twice as good,” she added.
Williams is a global adviser to Verizon Media, HuffPost’s parent company.
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