The Legacy of Serena Williams

Layla Reese, Staff Reporter

Mylie Bluhm

Tennis star, Serena Williams, announced her new journey in August of 2022 stating that she will not be continuing her remarkable tennis career. In a Vogue interview-essay, Williams expresses that she does not like the word “retirement” and she prefers to use the word “evolution” while embarking on her new journey away from tennis. 

After her final tennis match in the US Open, Serena Williams shows her gratitude for her sister Venus Williams saying, “I wouldn’t be Serena, if there wasn’t Venus” in a heartfelt interview with Mary Joe Fernandez. Her accomplishments of holding 23 Grand Slam singles titles, being ranked number one by the Women’s Tennis Association and not only being an inspiration to tennis players, but to Black girls who held the same dreams as she did when entering her career goes down in history. 

Serena Williams started playing tennis at the young age of four and she was coached alongside her sister Venus, by her parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price. Although denied by the WTA due to age eligibility, Williams did not let this discourage her from entering her first professional match at the adolescent age of 14 in Québec at the Bell Challenge. Williams won her very first professional title for singles at the Open Gaz de France in Paris at 17 years old. She continued playing in professional matches throughout her teenage years and often played against her sister who also played in multiple matches at the time. 

In 1999, Serena Williams was victorious in her first Grand Slam singles tournament, being the second African-American woman to do so. In the 2001 Australian Open, Serena and Venus Williams became the fifth doubles team to obtain all of the four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles in history. 

It was only a year after, where Serena Williams would earn the No. 1 ranking for the first time in her career during a Grand Slam singles match at the 2002 Wimbledon Championships against her sister. During the 2003 Australia Open, Williams wins her fourth Grand Slam singles title against her sister and this momentous achievement becomes known as the ‘Serena Slam’, and she also becomes the sixth woman in the Open Era to finish as a Grand Slam All-Time Champion

Her legendary accomplishment of completing her 23rd Grand Slam singles title came during her match against her sister in the 2017 Australian Open. Serena Williams would give birth to her daughter, Olympia, on Sept. 1, 2017 and she would play her first match two months later, even after overcoming several health obstacles. Only a few years after giving birth, Williams secured a singles title at the 2020 Auckland Open and also won a doubles title, donating her earnings to Australian Wildfire victims.

Senior Lahari Yelemanchili, member of Tulane Women’s Tennis, stated that Serena Williams, “had a big impact on the game of not just Women’s, but on tennis as a whole.” Yelemanchili also stated that she showed “[us] that you can do whatever you set your mind to and has inspired so many including me.” She expresses that as Serena Williams’s tennis career ends, “it will be sad with her gone, but I’m so glad that I got to watch some of her greatness through the years.” 

The legacy of Serena Williams has paved the way for young aspiring players with goals such as playing professional tennis. In an open letter for Porter’s Magazine, she states that “It is my hope that my story, and yours, will inspire all young women out there to push for greatness and follow their dreams with steadfast resilience.” 

Over the course of her professional tennis career, Williams has faced racism, discrimination and sexism from media outletsto other tennis players. She perseveres everytime, making an example to the world that the public does not define her; she does. Her 27 years of professional tennis will go down in the history books as one of the most persevering, inspirational and legendary careers of all time. 

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