Serena Williams on Wednesday issued a statement implying that comments attributed to her in an interview with Rolling Stone magazine were "what I supposedly said."
While not blaming the victim in the Steubenville rape case, Williams was quoted as saying "she shouldn't have put herself in that position" in an interview with the magazine.
"What happened in Steubenville was a real shock for me. I was deeply saddened. For someone to be raped, and at only 16, is such a horrible tragedy! For both families involved -- that of the rape victim and of the accused," Williams said in a statement Wednesday.
"I am currently reaching out to the girl's family to let her know that I am deeply sorry for what was written in the Rolling Stone article. What was written -- what I supposedly said -- is insensitive and hurtful, and I by no means would say or insinuate that she was at all to blame.
"I have fought all of my career for women's equality, women's equal rights, respect in their fields -- anything I could do to support women I have done. My prayers and support always goes out to the rape victim. In this case, most especially, to an innocent 16-year-old child."
The comments that sparked Williams' statement on Wednesday were made in one paragraph of a lengthy Rolling Stone piece posted online Tuesday about Williams. The 16-time Grand Slam title winner is ranked No. 1 heading into Wimbledon, which starts next week.
Two players from the celebrated Steubenville, Ohio, high school football team were convicted in March of raping a drunken 16-year-old girl; one of the boys was ordered to serve an additional year for photographing the girl naked. The case gained widespread attention in part because of the callousness with which other students used social media to gossip about it.