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In an extensive interview about race, sport and identity, Serena Williams explained why she avoids reading stories about herself in the media.

In an interview with Common for The Undefeated that aired Sunday, Williams said, "At a very young age, I think I was 17, I stopped reading any press about me. I think cause I was reading an article and they were pumping me up, like being this great player, whatever, one to watch, and blah, blah, blah. And then I thought I don’t want my head to get too big; I don’t want to be that person that thinks they’re too good for anyone else. And at the same time, I thought I also don’t want to be looking at these negative articles. People talking so negative about me, my body, about how I look. I didn’t want either side of the spectrum.

"I just decided from that day, I never read an article. I think that actually helped me avoid a lot of the scrutiny.

"I kind of put myself in a bubble, where I shielded myself and protected myself from anything that ever came out about me. To this day still, I just feel like I definitely was scrutinized because I was confident and I was black. … And I am black and I am confident."

Williams spent 186 consecutive weeks ranked No. 1 before that streak ended in September. She said in the interview that she was told while growing up not to talk about becoming No. 1.

"Why shouldn’t I say that? If I don’t think I’m gonna be the best, why do I play? I could be hanging out; I could be at the beach somewhere or doing something different."

PHOTOS: SERENA'S GRAND SLAM TITLES

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