Serena Williams Says She's 'Not Taking Zika Lightly' Ahead of Rio Olympics

"Especially being older, I am definitely going everywhere protected," Williams says

Serena Williams is speaking out about her concerns about the Zika virus outbreak that has cast a shadow over the Rio Olympics.

In a cover story for Glamour magazine, the four-time Olympic gold medalist says she is “not taking Zika lightly,” as she prepares to head to Rio de Janeiro for the 2016 games.

“Especially being older, I am definitely going everywhere protected. I’m protecting myself,” says Williams, 30.

Last month, Williams responded to questions about an open letter letter signed by 150 scientists and doctors calling for the Rio Olympics to be postponed or moved due to concerns about the spread of the virus that has been linked to birth defects and other serious health issues.

“It could be a concern,” Williams said in a press conference, according to USA Today. “I’m not an expert on pathogens. I’ve watched a lot of movies like Outbreak and stuff, but it didn’t leave me in a position where I could comment on this. Of course would we’re hoping it doesn’t happen.”

Williams, who won won gold medals in both the singles and doubles (with her sister Venus) at the London Games in 2012, said she feels that her game has only gotten stronger as she has matured.

“I have played better in my thirties,” Williams told Glamour”. “And I played pretty well in my twenties, don’t get me wrong! But my consistency is better, my momentum is better, my wins are quicker.”

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The tennis icon, who recently became the world’s highest-paid female athlete according to Forbes, also addressed wage inequality in sports. The issue has gained attention heading into the Summer Olympics as five members of the World Cup-winning U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team filed a labor complaint against U.S. Soccer, claiming they’re paid just 40 percent as much as the men’s team players – despite generating tens of millions more in revenue.

“These sports have a lot of work to do,” Williams responded when asked about the female athletes fighting for equal pay. “And I really hope that I can be helpful in that journey because I do believe that women deserve the same pay. We work just as hard as men do.”

“I’ve been working, playing tennis, since I was three years old. And to be paid less just because of my sex – it doesn’t seem fair,” she said.

“Will I have to explain to my daughter that her brother is gonna make more money doing the exact same job because he’s a man? If they both played sports since they were three years old, they both worked just as hard, but because he’s a boy, they’re gonna give him more money? Like, how am I gonna explain that to her?”

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