Is there still anyone on this planet who has never heard of the name Serena Williams? Even if you have been living under the rock in the past decade or so, you most probably still have heard of the legend of Serena Williams – arguably the greatest female athlete of all time.
She has won a total of 23 grand slam titles (2 titles away from holding the all-time high record) and has brought the game of tennis to a whole new level. Many people admittedly became huge fans of the sport after watching her play the game. Her tennis prowess and her monster hits are so fascinating and captivating to watch. She has even become a fashion icon, sporting her beautiful, colorful creations in each of her game. People look forward to watching her play in court and what she’s going to wear. Her most popular outfits include a denim skirt, a leopard print, a catsuit, and even a tutu skirt.
In the recent US Open, there was a controversy around the finals. It was between Serena Williams and 20-year-old Naomi Osaka. Osaka won the tournament, but instead of talking about the victory of this young athlete who is the first Japanese to win the grand slam title, people were talking about the penalty the umpire imposed on Serena and the booing of the crowd during the ceremony. It was a match that will make history for the wrong reasons.
With everything that happened in the most recent grand slam event, the fact that Serena was still at the top of her game (at the age of 36 and shortly after giving birth to her daughter) is something that baffles a lot of people. Her career has spanned so many generations that today, at 36 years of age, she is still in perfect shape. Here is a short but sweet biography of this amazing woman, the GOAT in women’s tennis.
Serena the Young Athlete
Serena can credit all her success to the man who introduced her to the sport – her father, Richard Williams.
Richard trained his two youngest daughters – Venus and Serena to be two of the greatest women athletes of tennis. Do you want to know exactly how he did it? It is no secret that Richard did not know much about tennis. He bought a book about the sport and learned the rules and the types of plays. Little did he know that he will change tennis forever.
Serena grew up in Compton California, where she was encouraged to play when she was only 3. Life was tough those times. Their father would train her and her sister in public courts. Her father would sometimes pay those in charge to let him and his daughters use the courts for a couple of hours a day. Coming straight out of Compton was nothing easy for Richard, Venus, and Serena. There were so many instances of racism when they started joining tournaments. There came the point wherein Richard pulled his daughters out from matches to protect them from racist remarks, especially from the parents of their competitors who were mostly whites.
The uphill climb to a professional career showed how resilient the two sisters are. Serena has always been labeled as Venus’s sister, most especially since Venus peaked earlier than her. The sisters started to make a name for themselves when they won their first few grand slam titles. Moreover, they also shined as partners for women’s doubles tennis. They have become the most popular sisters ever to play the sport, and Serena would eventually outshining her sister Venus.
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Serena, the Greatest Athlete of All Time
Serena won her first grand slam at the age 20. At the age of 31, she was able to hold the number one title. Thus, making her the oldest woman to hold the title in tennis. Today, 36-year-old Serena's ultimate goal is to tie Margaret Court’s record of 25 titles and win one more to set the record of 26 titles. With the way she is playing now, being a finalist in the last two grand slams, it looks as though she can set this record in no time.
Anyone can go on and on about Serena’s accomplishments, the numerous grand slam titles, Olympic medals, percentages set and world records were all surpassed. They can also talk about how she was awarded so many times as the female athlete of the year and greatest athlete of the decade. Take note that she has beaten 20 female athletes who were ranked #1 in the world. However, the most notable can be the fact that she has served as a great role model not only for aspiring tennis players but aspiring women athletes. She is a fierce competitor, but she also has a lot of friends in the tennis world, which goes to show that she earned the respect of everyone on and off the court. It is evident in the number of tennis stars who have genuinely thanked her for the inspiration, including Naomi Osaka who has recently outplayed her. Serena wanted all women to join her in uplifting women in the world of sports – inspiring girls all over the world that they can be as good as anyone and they can accomplish anything with hard work and determination.
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Serena the Mom and Wife
In 2017, Serena took on her most challenging battle yet – motherhood. Would you believe that she won the Australian Open in January when she was eight weeks pregnant with her daughter? Williams gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter Alexis Olympia in September 2017. Three months later, she married Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian in a Beauty & the Beast themed wedding. You would think that any man would be intimidated with Serena and her accomplishments, but Alexis proved it otherwise. He has not watched a single tennis game his entire life, and he is the opposite of Serena, a nerd. In a way, coming from two different worlds made the lovebirds click.
Serena had a series of complications upon giving birth, so she was in and out of surgery. She also admitted suffering from postpartum depression. Despite the difficult pregnancy and all the complications right after, it’s incredible that she was able to get back to the game, and in top shape and form. Her daughter has indeed served as an inspiration for her to go and win more grand slams. Although her eyes are on the 26th title, she told in an interview that whenever she looks at her daughter, it makes her not care about it anymore. It makes her forget the need to win, the money and the prestige. All she wants at the end of the day is to become a great mom and an excellent example for her daughter.
Serena is inspiring women to return to the game after childbirth. She is currently rallying the tennis world to let women tennis players who have taken time off after childbirth to come back to the job where they left it, rather than start from the very bottom in ranking.
Serena has leveled up the competition in tennis, helped empower women, and served as a style icon. It is so exciting to see more from her and her journey towards the 26th title.