As I reflect on the legacy of one of the greatest athletes of any generation, I see the warrior queen of tennis battling one last time in her final match against Ajla Tomljanovic’. Serena would not go down without a fight. She gave it her all, and that’s all any of us could ever ask for, but Serena doesn’t owe us a thing. In fact we owe her so much for making the sport of tennis accessible to all of us, especially Black and Brown people. We owe her for elevating women in sports to be taken seriously as professional athletes. She lifted the game of tennis to new heights with every game, set, and match. Thank you Serena for doing it in your own way with style and fierce resolve, unapologetically.
Serena Williams has inspired generations of women and I’m sure some men too. Venus and Serena Williams raised in Compton, California, were propelled to the highest echelons of tennis by their talent and determination fostered by their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price. These ladies are a gift to the world of tennis, but it is that warrior spirit possessed by Serena which has proven to be the greatest gift to us all. Serena demonstrated to the world what it takes to be a champion. A fighter. A winner. Way back when the Williams sisters’ journey first began, I saw how the world of tennis was ready to anoint Venus. Venus, who began her professional tennis career first, was svelte and demure while Serena was athletic and audacious. As it turns out, Venus would never rival her baby sister on the tennis court. Serena would become a champion on and off the court all the while thwarting every attempt society made to diminish her greatness. Serena’s greatness remains her power and her beauty!
Serena’s tennis resume speaks for itself — 23 Grand Slams, four Olympic Gold Medals, and she ranked No. 1 for 319 weeks by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Serena’s final match encapsulated all the elements of her illustrious career. She was relentless and fought until the very end forcing her opponent, several years younger, to three sets to win the match. It was an incredibly inspiring performance that demonstrated her championship pedigree and indomitable spirit. As Serena said during a recent interview at the U.S. Open, she had nothing to prove and nothing to lose. I could not agree more. While she may have lost her final match at the U.S. Open, she absolutely won our hearts. Congratulations to The Greatest, Serena Williams, on an unmatched and brilliant career.