• Mathieu Lesage

Serena Williams’ Legacy

Serena Williams is a retired professional tennis player who is famous for revolutionizing the game through her powerful and aggressive style, as well as winning more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the Open Era (1968-present). One thing that many people need to know is that she was not a pioneer as an elite Black tennis player. This achievement would go to Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe, who faced the barriers to entry to the professional circuit and succeeded at the highest level of the game, followed by champions like Zina Garrison and Yannick Noah. However, this does not mean that she did not help people accept Black athletes more into the game, and she has also suffered racism in both her youth and her time as a pro athlete. She was born in Compton, a hard place to grow up in, as it is known for its history of violence and gang wars. Serena is an example of a person who surpassed the expectations placed on her and of how race or skin color should not matter, as long as an individual is determined enough to achieve anything they want.


Serena’s legacy, which is shared with her sister, is evident in her style of playing, which is a more powerful and aggressive style that has become the norm. This trend is shown in the present day of the game, seen in talented Young black players like Coco Gauff and Naomi Osaka. But Serena did not only change the way the game is played, but also the way women are treated in the game: before her, female tennis players were expected to be ladylike, and this aggressive style and ‘bad boy’ image was only for men. She also helped promote Black athletes and equality through her actions, becoming a huge inspiration for many people who want to become tennis players in the current generation.


Wiliams’ legacy goes beyond the game of tennis, to outside the field. She has helped Black communities by showing them that skin and race should not matter as long as you have the determination to achieve your dreams. She used the press, especially interviews, to spark conversation about the danger of gun violence in her hometown, and has used examples of well-known people who have tragic stories . One of Selena Williams’ sisters, Yetunde, was murdered in Compton because of gun violence, and this only makes Selena more amazing: having to continue her rough path as a professional player even after her sister’s death shows her strength, as many famous athletes fell into depression after having one of their family members die. An example would be Adriano, a famous Brazilian football player, who has fallen into depression because of his father’s death, which has impacted his performance. She is the modern day superhero: even having suffered through many tragedies and a rough childhood, she has transcended to become the greatest female tennis player of all time.


Serena has changed tennis in the way the game is played in terms of tactics and skills, but also in how women are treated and how it does not matter how they play as long as it’s not playing against the rules . She has redefined what it means to be a female athlete, and her influence goes way beyond the court.


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