Good on the Court, Great off the Court: Serena Williams

Williams, born in Compton, California, grew up with practically nothing. A poverty-stricken town, dysfunctional parents, four sisters, and only one escape from all the chaos: tennis.

Serena Williams is truly the most amazing rags-to-riches story.

From the beginning, Williams made waves in the national and international tennis scenes.

She, and her sister Venus, who would later become a professional tennis player too, started intensive training at age three and four, respectively; and it didn’t take long for them to shine on the court.

At the ripe young age of 19, Williams won her first major title: the US Open. Only four years later, at 23, she completed the Grand Slam in women’s tennis: winning the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.

Such a feat is rarely seen, especially out of a youngster like Williams. This major achievement set her up to be the best women’s tennis player ever.

To put it simply — and also because it would take an entire page to list all of her accomplishments — Serena Williams is an absolute powerhouse.

She has won 23 major tournament titles (24 if she played to her highest potential at Wimbledon recently), 14 doubles titles (one of which came just hours after her title-winning match at Wimbledon), and 4 Olympic gold medals, all among countless other smaller tournament titles. She has got enough metal to make LeBron James jealous.

Just recently, Williams won the title at the Australian Open, defeating her sister and seizing her 23rd major tournament title. Her most recent title placing her ahead of Steffi Graff, who originally held the record for most titles in the Open Era (22). But, the most impressive thing about her first-place finish at the Australian Open was that she was in the early stages of pregnancy, a feat that no male athlete will ever accomplish; sorry Tom Brady.

So, yes, Williams is an apex predator in women’s tennis; however, her reach spans far beyond the court. She empowers females all over the world. It is so rare that someone with such unprecedented production on the court can have those accomplishments overshadowed by their off-the-court achievements.

From growing up with nothing, Serena has, obviously, fully earned all that she has today. She now runs her own clothing brand and foundation, wrote an autobiography and has an HBO series. On top of all that, she is one of People Magazine’s top 25 most intriguing people, and last but not least, an inspiration to all female athletes.

Many young stars in tennis such as Naomi Osaka, Jelena Ostapenko, and Madison Keys all look up and admire Williams as their idol. Williams augmented these player’s love for the game, and in turn, they wanted to be in that same echelon as Williams.

These young stars all attribute their love for the game and drive to get better to Williams and her dominance; in Ostapenko words, she was “happy to play and support her idol” when they squared off in Mubadala at the Women’s World Tennis Championship. CNN Also released a post-game article between Osaka and Williams after they faced each other at the Miami Open, and titled the piece“Naomi Osaka Sweeps Aside Idol Serena Williams in Miami Title”.

Believe it or not, Williams’ hand reaches even further. She grew up in a poor, crammed home in one of the most dangerous cities in the country, but now has an estimated net worth of 180 million dollars. She is a force in the financial and marketing fields, as she is one of the top paid female athletes in history.

She is a winner but she has only gotten this far by losing time and time again. When Williams gets knocked down, she stands right back up.

Williams is undoubtedly an inspiration to all, and at this point in time, she isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

-Adam

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