Serena Williams’ legacy on and off the court | sneakers

Serena Williams’ legacy on and off the court | sneakers
Serena Williams’ legacy on and off the court | sneakers

+ Serena Williams is celebrated by the sports world and other personalities; Look
+ Serena and Venus Williams lose to Czech duo at US Open

1 of 6 Serena Williams — Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Serena Williams — Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

The year was 1999, and Serena was just a 17-year-old girl with big dreams. Not satisfied with reaching the final of that year’s US Open, the young woman had the “audacity” to displace the then best tennis player in the world, Martina Hingis. This would be the first of 23 Grand Slam singles titles.

After winning the US Open over the favorite, Serena Williams ended the season as the fourth best tennis player in the world. The American would appear at the top of the rankings three years later.

2 of 6 Serena Williams wins her first Grand Slam title in 1999 — Photo: Jamie Squire/Allsport

Serena Williams wins her first Grand Slam title in 1999 (Photo: Jamie Squire/Allsport)

Serena is the most male and female majors winner in the Open Era of tennis with 23 wins. Counting the pairs, there are 39 titles, in addition to four gold medals in the Olympics. She is also the oldest tennis player to win a slam and to occupy the top of the ranking, with 319 weeks in the first place, with 186 consecutive.

These are some of Serena Williams’ spectacular numbers as an athlete, but to be the greatest of all time is not enough. Need more. And Serena did a lot. In addition to the records, she has awards off the court as valuable as, including Martina Navratilova and Billie Jean King, who should be praised too.

3 of 6 Billie Jean King and Serena Williams during the 2014 WTA Finals — Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Billie Jean King and Serena Williams during the 2014 WTA Finals — Photo: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Motherhood and Prejudice

In September 2017, Serena Williams gave birth to Alexis Olympia, however, she lifted the Australian Open trophy in January, not even knowing she was already carrying her daughter. At the time, Serena beat her own sister, Venus Williams, 2-0 (double 6/4), the last Grand Slam title of her career.

After pregnancy, the tennis player suffered from many problems, and almost died from pulmonary complications. In addition to clinical difficulties, Williams faced intense and dishonest criticism. Among them, that she would not be able to play well postpartum and at 36 years old.

Even with the complications, Serena returned to the courts and in less than a year she was already playing Roland Garros. Due to health problems, the former world number one had to wear a jumpsuit that helped with blood circulation. However, it was frowned upon by the French Federation, and President Bernard Giudicelli regretted its use and declared that the garment would be banned from the tournament.

4 of 6 Serena Williams at the 2018 Roland Garros premiere — Photo: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Serena Williams at the 2018 Roland Garros premiere — Photo: REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

Circuit rules did not allow women to wear the leggings without a skirt or shorts on top, but thanks to Serena Williams, the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) allowed athletes to wear them.

Another important change was related to the ranking. The entity treated a pregnancy and an injury in the same way. Being out of a competition because of a sprained ankle or being pregnant weighed just as much in the eyes of the WTA. At the time, Serena moved from first place to 453rd. Williams even said that “the WTA rankings punished me for getting pregnant”.

After the claims, tennis players who became mothers would have up to three years to return to the circuit without sudden loss of ranking positions.

5 of 6 Serena Williams and Olympia: mother and daughter love to combine clothes, habits and even poses — Photo: Instagram/ Serena Williams

Serena Williams and Olympia: mother and daughter love to combine clothes, habits and even poses — Photo: Instagram/ Serena Williams

And in the same year, still in 2018, Serena Williams again silenced thousands of people by reaching two Grand Slam finals: Wimbledon and US Open. On sacred grass, Angelique Kerber won in straight sets and took the title.

At the US Open, Naomi Osaka, an avowed Williams fan, defeated her in a match marked by the sexism of referee Carlos Ramos. The chair judge said that coach Patrick Mouratoglou was giving instructions to the winner of 23 Grand Slams. Serena said Ramos wouldn’t act the same way if he were a man, and the WTA came to the American’s defense.

More than an athlete of absolute success on the court, Serena has also become very successful off the court. The American is the highest paid female athlete in the history of world sport, having accumulated US$ 94 million in awards throughout her career.

The fortune collected from the sports performance, added to the sponsorships, also allowed her to invest in her business career. “The Serena Ventures” is a shareholder in more than 50 startups led by black women, in addition to having stakes in billionaire sports franchises such as the Miami Dolphins and the UFC.

6 of 6 Serena Williams career details — Photo: Infoesporte

Serena Williams career details — Photo: Infoesporte

The tennis player also used the money she earned on behalf of those in need, doing philanthropic work. Serena has a fund to promote racial, gender and disability equity through education.

The now former tennis player has donated to more than 13 charities, is a UNICEF ambassador and has helped build schools for underprivileged children in Africa and the Caribbean.

Legacy. That’s the best word to describe Serena Williams’ brilliant career. The curtain closes and the lights go out, but Serena is forever.

*intern under the supervision of Giba Perez

The article is in Portuguese

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