While admittedly not much of a tennis buff I can appreciate greatness. From working multiple regional tennis tournaments over my years at Mercer I finally sort of understood how to keep score, though I still get a little confused! And for being what I thought was a pretty good athlete, the few times I have tried tennis I was not very good. Maybe some day…
Anyway I’m talking about tennis because of the retirement of Serena Williams, one of the greatest women’s players of all time and one of the most dominant female athletes of all time.
One thing I will always admire and appreciate with Serena is how she changed the narrative of the body of female athletes. She was strong and muscular and not afraid to show that. Her outfits were bold. She wore a “catsuit” to the French open which was designed to help prevent blood clots. She was told this attire was not allowed, so in her next tournament she wore a tutu. I love the edge and sarcasm of this. She also responded by saying the catsuit made her feel like a “warrior princess.” And that she was.
Men are never scrutinized like women are about what they wear and I love that Serena wore what she wanted. Athletic women are muscular and may look “big” compared to the thin models and celebrities we often think of. But athletic and muscular is beautiful and can be sexy. I appreciate that Serena showed off her muscle and did things in her own style, not just complying with the normal, expected standards.
Serena also had the challenge of trying to return to competition following the birth of her child. It’s hard to bounce back to shape for any of us, forget to returning to elite level like Serena. On top of the pressure to return, she had complications during her delivery making the challenge of returning to world class level even more difficult. And yet she did it.
Serena was a true champion. She dominated women’s tennis for years. She was the oldest #1 ranked player in the world. She won 23 individual titles, which is incredible.
Serena also worked on promoting diversity in tennis and gender and racial equality in sports and did extensive charity work. She is a wonderful role model that was under so much pressure but handled it with so much grace.
Thank you Serena for all being a wonderful role model for all girls out there and for all you have done to grow the sport of tennis. Thank you for doing things your way and showing us that muscular and athletic can also be sexy and beautiful. Thank you for balancing a career with motherhood while on the world stage and sharing the challenges that come with this.
I am so glad I was able to watch your dominance. I knew Michael Jordan was great and am grateful I was able to see one of the best basketball players ever play. I can now say the same about Serena. I’m glad I got to see one of the greatest to ever play tennis play the game.
Thank you Serena.
#thankyouserena #serenawilliams #womenstennis #rolemodel #femaleathletes #breakingbarriers