Serena Williams announced earlier in August that she would be retiring from tennis. Instead, she’s devoting her time to being a mother, fashion designer, venture investor, and many other things. She will create the future she wants.
Williams made the announcement through a Vogue magazine cover story released on August 9, saying that after competing in the U.S. Open this month, she will officially retire. Many might forget that her championships, which includes 23 Grand Slam singles wins, started with winning the U.S. Open in 1999.
Serena Williams, then 17 years old, became the first Black player to win a Grand Slam singles championship since Arthur Ashe in 1975, and the first Black woman to do it since Althea Gibson in 1958. For the past two decades, Williams has been the icon for athletic prowess, as well as our society’s hopes for racial and gender equality.
In the Vogue cover story that she used to break the news, Williams shared that it was her daughter Olympia’s desire for a sibling that made the tennis champion reconsider her trajectory now that she is in her 40’s. She also revealed that she won the U.S. Open while she was 2 months pregnant with Olympia. Having grown up with several siblings herself, Williams recognized the important of kinship and family.
Serena was never confined by tradition, after breaking so many records and defying the status quo when it came to playing tennis as well as undertaking other ventures in her life. Williams raised the bar for the game.
Martina Hingis, who had risen to the top of the rankings by playing with elegance and precision, was Williams’ opponent in that 1999 U.S. Open final. Tennis would never be the same after Williams defeated Hingis 6-3, 7-6, with power, speed, and guts.
Williams is not only a prime example of an elite tennis player, but was also famed for her style. She has had a hand in fashion alongside her athletic career and wore incredible outfits of every color, as well as outfits adorned with sequins and studs to all of her games. Her strong physique displayed body features that are accentuated by years of being a tennis champion, such as her broad shoulders and her strong legs.
We are sure that this is not the last we hear of Serena, though it will probably not be related to tennis, she will remain in our lives through other ventures. She even has her own Design Building on the Nike campus.
Photo via WTA/Robert Prange