Serena changed tennis, women and the world.
Rarely does an athlete, celebrity, or even politician win the hearts of certain people who aren’t rabid followers of what they do. Serena Williams is one of those shining stars, playing professional tennis for 25 years and becoming an international icon.
First, Serena burst into the women’s game with her power and fury and, let’s face it, her unusual athletic body. The women’s game was a basic game of grace and consistency until the arrival of Martina Navratilova, and Serena took the Czech southpaw’s style to another level.
Second, she became not only the best player, but also the best African American to ever hold a racquet. She surpassed her older sister Venus and was the No. 1 player in the world for 319 weeks. Tennis fan or not, she had to be watched.
Third, his fame revealed his incredible family history in the public playgrounds of Compton, California, under the tutelage of his demanding, protective and loving father, who ultimately inspired the Oscar-winning film King Richard.
And, fourth, Serena has become an international fashion icon for girls and women of all ages and sizes. She wore braids and white pearls in her first professional game as a teenager, and once the tennis lightened up on the clothes on the court, Serena took it all the way to the diamonds on her multicolored outfits and finally her hair.
Add to that 23 Grand Slam championships and four Olympic gold medals – plus her drive to speak out – transformed her from a tennis phenom into an international lawyer. She married the Reddit founder in her thirties and had a baby Olympia, then returned to competing in Grand Slam events and other major tournaments.
That she decided to retire after the current US Open in New York, a grand slam before Margaret Court’s 24, says she knows her tennis legacy was already cemented and she can move on. which she calls other chapters of her life, including having a second child.
Outside of the game, she can get more outspoken as the wife and mother who escaped a difficult childhood, made sports important and proved that fashion can work for everyone. She now has a chance to be bigger in her next chapters, an even bigger feat in and of itself.
Featured image via US Open on Twitter
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