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On Friday, Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia defeated Serena Williams in the third round of the U.S. Open. This match signified the end of an illustrious career for the tennis superstar, who announced her retirement from professional tennis earlier this year. Turning pro at only 14, Serena Williams has since won 23 Grand Slam championships and spent a record-breaking 319 weeks ranked as the top female tennis player in the world. She and her sister Venus revolutionized the game of tennis, inspiring new generations of both other female and African American players forever. Let’s take a look back at Serena Williams’ incredible career.
Serena Williams’ Record-Breaking Career
Serena Williams has been dominating the world of tennis since she turned pro at the age of 14. In 2000, she became one of the first African American women to be ranked No. 1 in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association. She won an impressive 23 Grand Slam singles titles, including six Australian Opens, seven Wimbledons, four U.S. Opens, and three French Opens. Her other accomplishments include four Olympic gold medals and being named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year in 2015.
Williams is not only an incredibly talented athlete, but she is also a powerful voice for social change. In 2002, she wore a catsuit at the French Open to honor the excellent African American track star Florence Griffith Joyner. The following year, she penned an essay for Harper’s Bazaar titled “I Am More Than My Hair,” in which she opened up about her experience as a black woman in America. In 2016, she gave an emotional speech at Wimbledon after losing Angelique Kerber in the finals while pregnant with her first child. Williams has used her platform throughout her career to speak out against racism, sexism, and xenophobia.
The Impact of Serena Williams on Tennis and Beyond
While Serena Williams is undoubtedly one of the greatest tennis players of all time, her impact extends far beyond just tennis. She and her sister Venus have been credited with redefining and popularizing women’s tennis with their aggressive playing style and physical strength. They have also been instrumental in increasing the popularity of tennis among African Americans and other minority groups. The sisters were a pivotal duo, breaking down barriers for African American and women athletes in general. Today, more African American girls are playing tennis than ever before, thanks mainly to Serena and Venus Williams paving the way for them.
Serena Williams is not only one of the most successful athletes of all time but also a mighty social justice warrior who has used her platform to speak out against racism, sexism, and xenophobia throughout her career. She has inspired new generations of African American girls to pick up a racket and chase their dream of becoming professional tennis players like her. We are sure we will continue to feel her impact on society long after she hangs up her racquet for good.
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