Since turning pro in 1995, Serena Williams has a jaw-dropping career total 19 Grand Slam titles, in the Open Era, second only to Steffi Graf (22). How did she get here…
For beginners, ‘stunned’ best describes the white establishment’s quintessential country-club sport when the Williams sisters first exploded on the tennis scene as young teens. When they were even younger someone commented to their father, Richard Williams, that he had the next Michael Jordan on his hands; Richard, who self-taught himself the fundamentals of tennis, famously commented:
The tennis world marveled when on February 25, 2002 Venus became the first African American to become
World Number One.
About this historical achievement, Dad is on record saying words to this effect – while Venus is very good, her little sister is greatness personified.
The sisters really were dismissed and denigrated by many in the all-white tennis establishment, and when he forecast that Venus and Serena would become the top two players in the game, so was their father.
Yet to be acknowledged for his genius as a coach, Richard Williams was scoffed and laughed at, but as the famous quote goes:
“He who laughs last, laughs longest.”
SERENA…IN THE BEGINNING
Serena Williams was only 4 years old when she and sister, Venus, started hitting tennis balls. And at age 10 her record was 46-3 on the Junior USA Tour and her ranking – Number One – in her age division.
Turning pro in 1995 her determination was on full display as her ranking soared from number 304 to number 99.
Remember what transpired on that ranking climb, Serena defeated two top ten players on the way up, Monica Seles and Mary Pierce.
Amazingly only four years later, Serena followed up Althea Gibson’s feat of 1956, by becoming only the second African American to secure a grand slam women’s singles title. Winning at Flushing Meadows in 1999, the US Open – defeating Switzerland’s Martina Hingis in the women’s finals 6-3, 7-6 (7-4).
Backdrop to the story…as to why Serena winning her first grand slam title ‘here’ was so astounding to the lily-white tennis world: in 1997 her elder sister Venus at age 17 became the US Open’s first ‘unseeded’ women’s finalist in the Open Era. Well documented is the ‘open resentment’ Venus encountered during that tournament. (Check the cover of Sports Illustrated below) Venus was asked if she was tennis’ next Tiger Woods, her response is bold and true to factual reality:
“I would hope so,” Venus said. “He’s different from the mainstream, and in tennis I also am. I’m tall. I’m black. Everything’s different about me. Just face the facts.”
And the tennis world, if overwhelmed then, was much like the chorus of that song “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet”…when in 2002 Serena Jamika Williams followed up her Sister’s Act –
A magazine cover I favor very much features the most celebrated siblings ever in tennis history on its cover and reads: “Venus and Serena Serving From the Hip.” The story has since grown much deeper than that when it comes to closer inspection of the individual dispositions of these two
Being the baby sister myself, I appreciate and admire much Venus’s generosity of spirit, support and protectiveness of her younger sister. But these characteristics have been enormous factors in their face-offs on court, particularly early in their careers.
The primary distinction is that while younger sister has vocalized a preference for not having to face Venus, Serena has never seemed as conflicted about beating Venus – as Venus has demonstrated for her baby sister.
Remember the first Prime-Time Televised women’s final in US Open history, when she beat Serena, Venus slung her arms around her kid sister’s shoulders when it was over and whispered in her ear, “Let’s get out of here.”
Serena and Destiny
Also admirable is that without hesitation, and from the beginning, Serena embraced her own individual destiny. And for the record, Champion Serena Williams has shared openly that, regardless of the opponent she hates losing more than she loves winning.
And true to her father Richard William’s proclamation; Serena has become the greatest women’s champion the world has ever been fortunate enough to witness.
Further testimony to her greatness, the World Number One is not satisfied with her record 19 Grand Slam Titles, so stay tuned folks for the greatest match of competition ever is underway…Serena against Tennis World History!
WHY I ADORE SERENA WILLIAMS
I adore Serena for many reasons: that she is a woman of Faith; how she openly shares her journey to embracing and loving herself completely; the love she has for her family and genuine care for others; her dedication to her sport; and, her determination to live a full life outside of tennis; however my special admiration is reserved for Serena’s “Purity of Purpose”!
And I love music too and, its correlation to current affairs in life today; thus the song for the autobiographical movie about the undisputed “GREATEST” Muhammad Ali is deservedly a song the dominant and ‘GREAT’ Serena Williams, a woman of purpose, has earned in her sport such a tribute as well.
Ladies and gentlemen I present one of the greatest singers Whitney Houston [RIP] in Music Video performing “The Greatest Love Of All.”
submitted by a devoted fan of the William Sisters…@BlackPearlMoi (twitter account)