Serena Williams said she found out her sister’s killer had been released from prison just moments before she took the court with Johanna Konta at the Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose in July.
The 36-year-old, who suffered one of the heaviest defeats of her career in the match, told TIME that she read the news while scrolling through Instagram.
Robert Maxfield, who was convicted of fatally shooting Williams’ older half-sister Yetunde Price in 2003, was released on parole earlier this year after spending more than 10 years behind bars.
Williams explained, “I couldn’t shake it out of my mind.”
She added of Price’s three children, who were 11, 9, and 5 at the time of the murder: “It was hard because all I think about is her kids and what they meant to me. And how much I love them.
“No matter what, my sister is not coming back for good behaviour. It’s unfair that she’ll never have an opportunity to hug me. But also… the Bible talks about forgiveness.”
Despite this, the tennis champion admitted she’s not ready to forgive the killer just yet.
“I would like to practise what I preach, and teach Olympia that as well. I want to forgive. I have to get there. I’ll be there.”
Williams’ tell-all interview also saw discuss the difficulties of being a working mom to 11-month-old daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. “Some days I cry. I’m really sad. I’ve had meltdowns. It’s been a really tough 11 months. If I can do it, you guys can do it, too.”
Williams, who met husband Alexis Ohanian in 2015 before the pair tied the knot in November 2017, then admitted she thought she’d “always marry a black guy.”
“I always felt that I could relate more with a black guy, that we’d have more struggles in common, you know?”