PUBLISHED: 15:34 EST, 7 August 2012 | UPDATED: 07:27 EST, 8 August 2012
Serena Williams has been criticised for glamourising gang culture after breaking into a controversial ‘Crip Walk’ on Wimbledon’s grass court.
Celebrating her spectacular Olympic win on Saturday, the tennis star performed a spontaneous rendition of the hip-hop dance that was made famous in the 1970’s by Los Angeles gang The Crips, known for their ruthless murders, drug dealing and affiliation with the Mafia.
After a barrage of criticism on Twitter, Fox Sports reporter Jason Whitlock weighed into the debate on Monday, labeling Williams’ impromptu jig ‘immature and classless’.
Crip walk: Serena Williams performs an impressive crip walk, right, and poses with her gold medal after beating Maria Sharapova in the women’s singles
‘What Serena did was akin to cracking a tasteless, X-rated joke inside a church,’ Whitlock wrote in a blog. ‘Serena deserved to be called out. What she did was immature and classless.’
Fellow Fox Sports personality Reid Forgrave added: ‘And there was Serena – the tennis legend, the winner of 14 individual Grand Slams, the best player of her generation, the American girl being crowned at the All-England Club as the queen of tennis – Crip-Walking all over the most lily-white place in the world.
‘You couldn’t help shake your head. It was as if Serena just couldn’t seem to avoid dipping into waters of controversy even as she’d ascended to the top of her sport.’
Williams insisted she hadn’t meant anything by the dance – that she was just so overjoyed after thrashing rival Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 to take home gold in the women’s final that her body almost did it of its own accord.
After securing the Olympic Gold at Wimbledon, Serena Williams launched into a Crip Walk
The famous dance originated from gangs in Compton, Los Angeles and was popularised by Hip Hop stars such as Snoop Dogg
‘It was just me. I love to dance,’ Williams told reporters. ‘I didn’t know what else to do. I was so happy, and next thing I know I started dancing and moving. I didn’t plan it. It just happened.’
But when one naive reporter quizzed her as to the name of the funky little jig, inquiring whether it was called ‘The Serena’ or ‘The Wimbledon’, the star looked down, embarrassed.
‘Actually, there is a name. But I don’t know if I — it’s inappropriate,’ she said. ‘It’s just a dance we do in California.’
Still, Williams should have apologised straight away, according to Whitlock.
‘Serena deserved to be criticized… Wimbledon isn’t the place to break out a dance popularized by California Crip gang members,’ he wrote.
‘She knows it. That’s why she got embarrassed when asked by reporters to reveal the name of the dance.’
Snoop Dogg would no doubt have been proud to see the world’s first Olympic C-Walk at Wimbledon when Serena Williams won gold
Gangster: Snoop Dogg, pictured, regularly crip walks in music videos and on stage
Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Chase tried to calm the outraged masses, claiming she was not trying to make a political stand.
‘This makes it seem like Serena crip-walked away from the Queen after stealing the crown jewels,’ he wrote.
‘She broke out the dance for three seconds, while looking at her sister sitting in the player’s box! It’s a dance move, not a political statement.’
But Rapper Snoop Dog – who has featured the Crip Walk in his video clips – took to Twitter to hail Williams’ celebratory dance.
‘Shot out to Serena williams. C walking at the Olympics Cpt style hahahahah! Go girl,’ he tweeted on Saturday.
It was directly after securing a career Golden Slam by defeating Sharapova on the famous grass courts that Serena Williams proceeded to perform the controversial Crip Walk – the first in Olympic history, and probably the last.
Winners: Serena Williams, left, and sister Venus, right, defeated Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka to win gold in the women’s doubles on Sunday
Whether or not that particular routine was appropriate, the U.S. champion certainly had plenty to dance about.
Saturday’s medal was her first Olympic gold in a singles match and means she has achieved a career Golden Slam. She later went on to win her third gold in women’s doubles with sister Venus.
Originating in the 1970’s and performed by the Crip gang members of Williams’ native Compton suburb of Los Angeles, the C-Walk is synonymous with urban violence.
Made popular by hip-hop stars, the Crip Walk can be seen in the video for Snoop Dogg’s ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot.’
But the sight of one of the most recognised and celebrated athletes in the world performing the move would have gone a long way to reminding everyone watching where she grew up.
The U.S. champion defeated Sharapova easily and finished off the match by serving two aces. She jumped for joy before performing her little victory dance as, Venus, watched on grinning.
‘I didn’t think it could get better than winning Wimbledon,’ an elated Williams said as she came off the court.
Podium: Serena Williams poses along with silver medallist Maria Sharapova and bronze medallist Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Williams defeated Azarenka on Friday to make today’s final
Career Grand Slam: Serena Williams routed Russia’s Maria Sharapova to claim her first Olympic gold in a singles match
In an incredible display of prowess, Williams served three aces in the opening game, broke Sharapova’s serve in the second game before racing on to win the match.
Williams, the fourth seed, beat the third-seeded Russian on the same Centre Court where she took home her fifth Wimbledon championship last month.
Since losing to a 17-year-old Sharapova at the 2004 Wimbledon final, 30-year-old Williams has now beaten Sharapova eight consecutive times.
Williams and Sharapova have won all four Grand Slam titles during their careers but both were going for their first Olympic gold in singles today.
Williams is scheduled to play a doubles semifinal match with her sister Venus on Saturday. The two won Olympic doubles gold in 2000 and 2008.
Going for gold: Serena Williams, right, has won her first Olympic gold in singles, beating Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1
“Whether I win or lose, that’s not the big deal,” Williams said before today’s game. She defeated world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-1, 6-2 on Friday.
“The big deal for me, USA is guaranteed another medal. I’m guaranteed to just go out there tomorrow and have fun. That’s all I can do.”
Roger Federer, who has won 17 majors, also has a chance at a career Golden Slam when he plays for the gold against Andy Murray on Sunday. He beat Juan Martin del Potro in the longest best-of-three set match of the Open era, at 4 hours, 26 minutes, while Murray ousted Novak Djokovic.
“Roger, me and Maria. The odds are good,” Williams said about the opportunities to get a career Golden Slam. Andre Agassi and Rafael Nadal, who withdrew from the London Olympics because of a knee injury, won all four Grand Slam titles as well as Olympic gold in different years.
Ecstatic: Williams admires her first Olympic gold medal for women’s singles, left, and jumps for joy with a huge grin on her face after storming to victory
Dominated: Serena Williams served three aces in the opening game and won the first nine games of the match
Game over: Williams has now beaten Sharapova eight consecutive times. She lost the Wimbledon final to then 17-year-old Sharapova in 2004
In 1988, Steffi Graf won a Grand Slam – all four titles in the same calendar year – as well as a gold medal at the Seoul Olympics, which reinstated tennis as a sport in those games for the first time in 64 years.
Williams said she felt no pressure or sense that she had to achieve anything else in an extraordinary career in which she first rose to the top of the rankings a decade ago.
“I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I feel like if I were to retire last week, I would be fine,” she said.
Serena has won 14 Grand Slam singles titles, the most of any active woman; Sharapova has won four majors, sinking to her knees and raising her arms skyward when she won the French Open this year.
A shoulder injury took Sharapova out of the game for an extended period several years ago and deprived her of the chance to compete at the 2008 Beijing games.
Victorious: Serena Williams easily beat Maria Sharapova in a straight set and then conceded just one game in the second set