For Black History Month, we celebrate tennis superstar Serena Williams

Black History Month is here and one very inspiring athletic black woman is Serena Willams. Serena Williams, who has been playing professional tennis for 24 years, has revolutionized women’s tennis with her powerful plays, which have inspired many women and girls. 

Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles and has more grand slams than any man today. Additionally, Willams has consistently shown the world no matter what obstacles she faces in her tennis career she’ll always come back. 

After interviewing Nailah, 15, she believes Serena “inspires young black women to achieve the unachievable and that she defies the odds of today’s society through sports.”

Willams, today, is 38 years old and continues to play after even giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr. back in 2017. 

Williams has been a constant presence on the courts for 24 years which has changed the tennis landscape. 

Many American kids of color are taking part in youth programs, often citing the superstar sisters as the reason,” says USA Today. 

“There’s certainly more diverse activity from an ethnic standpoint since they came on the scene,” said D.A. Abrams, chief diversity and inclusion officer for the U.S. Tennis Association.” 

Williams, along with her sister Venus who is also a tennis player, was taught by her father, Richard Williams, who used tennis manuals and videos. She has had intensive training since she was three and won her first major championship in 1999. She is the only tennis player to ever accomplish a golden career grand slam in singles and doubles along with having a total of 39 Grand Slam titles. 

During the 2018 US Open Final Williams was fined $17,000 for three code violations during the game. She was fined $4,000 for receiving coaching, $3,000 for racket abuse and $10,000 for verbal abuse since she called the ref a thief. 

I have never cheated in my life!” Williams said to the Ref. “You owe me an apology.” 

The biggest issue for Williams on the court was that she was getting outplayed by a younger version, Naomi Osaka, a 20-year old at that time which was very frustrating. However, the media took this the wrong way by portraying Willams as an angry black woman instead of an athlete defending herself with an unfair decision. 

Williams, as an independent black woman, has constantly battled mind games, racism, injuries, and personal strife while being a fierce, confident competitor and pro-athlete. She has always been one of the biggest names talked about in tennis but it was never an easy ride for her as she faced comments over her body, the color of her skin and also her gender. 

“I think the biggest criticism that, not only me but my peers go through is there will be something saying we don’t deserve as much prize money as our male counterparts. When you work so hard, you dedicate yourself. It shouldn’t be a double standard,” Willams said. 

However, she can be very tough when it comes to being criticized. A low-ranked male tennis player said that he didn’t believe Serena would be even in the top 700 ranked tennis players in the world if she were playing in the male league. Willams didn’t take the comment seriously even though it was very offensive. 

She’s one of the highest-paid female athletes in the world, earning more than $84 million in prize money and endorsements total, and $27 million between June 2016 and June 2017 alone, according to Forbes because of sponsorship deals. In 2017, she earned a spot as the only female on Forbes’ Highest-Paid Athletes list. 

Now, at 36-years-old with a net worth of $27 million, her list of personal and professional accomplishments continues to grow at a profound rate and shows no signs of slowing down.

Serena Willams told Common, an Oscar-winning, hip-hop Renaissance man, in an interview that she does feel she has opened doors for black athletes. She and her sister have created a legacy for more African-American children to play. 

Willams has been an overall motivation for everyone and believes that everyone is born with a natural process that gets motivation and determination when activated.