The Serena Williams
By Shinedip Kundlas
Volume 1 Issue 6
March 18, 2021
Image provided by Shutterstock
When people hear the name Serena Williams, they probably think: tennis, No. 1 in women’s tennis, or think about her older sister, tennis great Venus Williams. However, Serena Williams is more than a great athlete; she is an inspiration for many young girls and women around the world.
Serena was born on September 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan. She started learning tennis at 5 years old from her father on public courts in LA. At the age of 17, she defeated Martina Hingis and won her first Grand Slam. Serena has won three double gold medals at the Olympics and has won 23 Grand Slams, more than any woman or man during the open era.
At the age of nine, Serena and her family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, so that she could attend the tennis academy of Ricci Macci. However, Richard Williams stopped sending his daughters to National Junior Tennis matches when Serena was ten because he wanted them to advance gradually and to focus on their schoolwork. Experiences of racism also drove Williams’s experience, as Richard had overheard white parents speak about the Williams sisters in a derogatory way during tournaments. In 1995, when Serena was in the ninth grade, her father pulled Venus and Serena out of Macci's academy. From then on, the Williams Sisters’ coaching at home started.
Serena Williams is one of the supreme tennis players of our time; nonetheless, to win 23 Grand Slams, she has had to prevail over challenges most tennis players have not: Serena is a black female in a predominantly white sport, she was raised in a poor neighborhood while practicing on community courts that were not always safe, and she suffered penetrating scrutiny of her body, misogyny, and racism. Serena, still to this day, has racist and sexist calls against her. She still contends with critiques of her body that perpetuate racist perceptions that black females are masculine and unattractive.
Despite these challenges, Serena has remained strong and fearless, making her a role model for many young girls and women, especially those of color. Not only is she dominating in the sports world, but she is also dominating in the real world with a philanthropic mission. Since 2011, Williams has been the UNICEF International Goodwill Ambassador. Through this role, Serena operates to create schools in an attempt to offer quality education for susceptible children via UNICEF's Africa program and Schools for Asia Campaign. She created the Serena Williams Foundation to aid youth whose families have been affected by violent crimes, and to support minority youth around the globe in receiving an education by providing grants and scholarships. Since 2015, Williams has also volunteered to help immunize children in Ghana.
Her career has been a rough yet amazing one, as she has been afflicted with injuries and has faced hardships both regarding her race and her being a woman. Serena continues to put herself back on the tennis court and play her best. Serena Williams is an astonishing example of how determination, practice, and motivation, can go a long way. She is an example of how no matter what color your skin is, and whether you’re a female or male, you can do it, and nothing can stop you from doing what you want to do.