Serena Williams’ career ends but her inspiration remains

Norah Caplan, Director of New Staff

On Friday, September 2nd, tennis star Serena Williams got knocked out of the US Open, marking an end to a storied career that fans worldwide will never forget. Her dedication and perseverance has inspired many, and she remains the most successful women’s tennis player in history. Her final match was watched by a record-breaking amount of 6.9 million viewers, making it the most-watched tennis program on ESPN. The excitement was contagious as the crowd cheered on Williams, applauding for one of the most influential women in sports.

WIlliams played Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia in the third round of the US Open in a very suspenseful match. Williams fought hard against Tomljanovic throughout the match, forcing a tiebreaker in the second set. Ultimately Tomljanovic had the edge on Williams and was able to come out on top, knocking Williams out of the tournament. Many celebrities publicly acknowledged their support and respect for Williams such as Michelle Obama, TIger Woods, and Oprah Winfrey. Although this marks the end of WIlliam’s career, fans roared as she walked off the court and her proweress in tennis will never be forgotten.

When Williams was just 3 years old she picked up a tennis racket and began practicing with her older sister, Venus. At a young age Williams stood out and dominated against her competitors, but none could imagine the impact she would have on the world. 

In 1995, at only 14 years old, Williams began her professional tennis career.  Since her debut, Williams has spent a total of 319 weeks atop the WTA rankings, an incredible feat that only two other women have accomplished. Williams has won an unbelievable 23 Grand Slams throughout her career, winning her first US Open when she was only 17. She has also won a total of 4 Olympic gold medals, and has won 10 major titles since turning 30. three times the amount the next woman received. This means Williams was performing at the highest level for 20 years and was able to dominate the sport throughout two decades. On top of her historic wins, Williamshas become a huge advocate for racial and gender representation across many fields. 

Williams has been an enormous activist for equal pay and racial equality. She advocated for recognition for women in sports and through her efforts she became the first women to be paid equally to her male counterpart in 2007 after her win at Wimbledon. Williams also spoke out against systemic racism long before it became a large movement. She spoke out against the murders of Philando Castille, Christain Taylor, and George Floyd, disregarding how people would view her comments. Williams also stood in support of Colin Kaepernick when the NFL refused to employ him after kneeling during the national anthem, and has helped spread body positivity. All in all, she has made an incredible impact on the world and her activism has truly changed the way African-American women are viewed in sports. Seeing a woman not back down when faced with adversity and prejudice has inspired young girls that anything is possible. 

In her words, “The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and be humble.”