Serena Williams, world renowned tennis player, steps on the court for her final U.S Open in an “embellished bodice and tutu skirt, inspired by the night sky above center court in Flushing, N.Y,” she wrote on Instagram. Stars from all over packed the arena to support the legacy the athlete has built. Her daughter, Olympia is dressed in a similar outfit with white beads dangling from her hair, just like Serena would wear in her early tennis career.
This moment was revolutionary for not only the world of tennis, but the Black community. Starting her career in 1999, she has been a representation of triumph, hope, and empowerment. In her post match interview, she said “I don’t have anything to prove, I don’t have anything to win, I have absolutely nothing to lose, honestly I never get to play like this really.”
Williams lost in her third round. Along with her individual match, she also played doubles with her older sister, Venus Williams. Serena has credited her sister for her success multiple times, saying that she would not be here if it wasn’t for her Venus.
It has not always been an easy ride for the star athlete. She has had to overcome racial injustice and bias throughout her whole career. Along with being labeled as “too aggressive” or “intimidating.”
After having her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr, it was a long road to come back and achieve victory again.
As a young girl from Compton she has had to overcome various racial and gender related hardships that have made her into the athlete she is today.
Sydney Taylor, former Howard tennis player says, “On and off the court, Serena Williams is a trailblazer in lifestyle, fashion, and entrepreneurship. She embodies phenomenal character, confidence, and grit in all that she does and has proven that nothing is impossible when you set goals and have ambition. She is a legend who has altered and impacted the game of tennis in all aspects and has continuously stolen the hearts of fans worldwide.”
The athlete has had several partnerships and brand deals throughout her career and has started her own fashion company, “S” by Serena along with “Serena Ventures,” which “invests in companies that embrace diverse leadership, individual empowerment, creativity and opportunity.”
“As a Black woman and a lifelong player of tennis, the word idol does not get much bigger than Serena Williams for me. She is an icon in the game and in Black culture. Growing up watching her play was extremely inspirational to me because I grew up in a predominantly white area and oftentimes I was the only Black girl at my entire tennis club, I was the only Black girl in my
high school Division one conference, said Taylor. “Black tennis players were always the people I looked up to and that is who I enjoyed watching. Just to see that representation in this sport kept me going.”
“If anyone would ask me who my favorite tennis player is, from age five to my age now, 21, I would definitely say Serena Williams,” added Taylor. “Her history and how hard she has worked, everything from her clothing to her hair on the court has really opened up a lot of boundaries in tennis.”