Thank you, Serena


Saying goodbye to the greatest of all time feels so strange.

Growing up, she was all I’d ever known. I was born in 2006, the golden age of her career; I started playing tennis around five, and as I grew more exposed to the sport, I learned of a name that seemed to be everywhere.

Serena Williams.

Little me was transfixed as I watched this incredible woman fight through stereotypes and glass ceilings to trailblaze her way through women’s tennis. The way she fought for every point. The way she stood her ground when faced with adversity. I was mesmerized. Something about Serena was different than the rest of the WTA (Women’s Tennis Association). Whether it was her talent or her fire, she just stood out, and Serena quickly became the name that came to mind when I was asked who my role model was.

As she racked up accomplishments unparalleled to anyone else, millions of others grew to share these sentiments. Twenty-three Grand Slams. Four Olympic gold medals. Number one in the world for 319 weeks. Serena touched hearts as she raced across the court in tutus and diamonds in her hair. However, her impact isn’t solely in the record books. Serena was even more extraordinary because she came from humble beginnings. She wasn’t raised in a prestigious tennis club, nor was everything handed to her; it was just her, Venus, and their dad. She became the best in the world even when held at a disadvantage early on. Serena’s success ushered in the realization that you didn’t have to be wealthy or privileged to become great, and race and discrimination didn’t have to hold you back anymore. That alone made her even more special.

Serena inspired me in many ways, both in tennis and off of the court. Her grit, determination, and fight will never be topped and neither will her kindness, compassion, or wisdom. She will stay the queen of many people’s hearts, including mine.

As she once said, “It doesn’t matter what your background is or where you come from; if you have dreams and goals, that’s all that matters.”

Thank you for being the best, Serena.