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Tennis - Serena's impact will be felt long after retirement is put on hold

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Presented by Serena Williams She is set to retire on Tuesday, but even if her illustrious tennis career is over, her impact on the game she dominated for more than two decades will be felt for generations to come.

Williams, who made her professional debut in 1995, a year after her older sister Venus, is one of the most marketable stars in gaming. She has many corporate partners, and in 2019 she became the first athlete to make it onto Forbes' list of America's richest self-made women.

Williams, 40, who is attending a preparation event for the US Open in Toronto this week, said in a Vogue article, "I'm evolving away from tennis. ' and posted on Instagram, 'The countdown has begun.'

Comparing players from different generations is a bit of a lost cause given the myriad ways to assess performance and analyze data, but Williams has been hailed by many fans and pundits alike. Considered a "GOAT". all the time.

Williams revolutionized women's tennis with a deadly combination of powerful serves, groundstrokes and athletic prowess, winning her most recent 23 Grand Slam titles in 2017. acquired and became the most successful player of the Open Era.

Her success has inspired generations of tennis players, including Naomi Osaka, who defeated Williams in the 2018 US Open final to win her first of four major titles. rice field.

"When I was younger, family events were watching Serena and Venus," said Osaka, whose parents are Japanese and Haitian, in San Jose last week.

"So I was watching it, and it drove me a lot. I didn't get to see them play live in the match, but I did." , I could see them practice... It's definitely inspiring to see it, to see people who look like me."

Women's Rights

Throughout her career, Williams has been outspoken about the culture of racism she and her family (including Venus) have been exposed to in predominantly white sports. At the peak of his career, Williams began what amounted to a 14-year boycott of the 2001 Marquee Tennis Tournament in Indian Wells, California... hours in the locker room.

In 2018, she accused officials of allowing a culture of sexism to thrive in sport, and that female athletes were punished in ways that male athletes were never punished. I was.

Williams was verbally abusive after telling referees he was a 'thief' for stealing points after being confronted with a string of rule violations in his US Open final loss to Osaka. I was particularly upset when the game was interrupted by Turn her off for her previous transgressions.

"I am here fighting for women's rights and women's equality.... He has never taken a game from a man just because they called him a thief. No," Williams said at the time.

Tennis pioneer Billie Jean King was among many who praised her for exposing the "double standard" that exists in female players.


"Women are not taught or expected in this society to be future leaders and future CEOs," Williams told British Vogue in 2020. . And it may be too late for me, but someone in my position is telling women and men that we have a voice because the Lord knows I'm using my voice.

"I love standing up for people and supporting women. It's a voice that millions of people don't have." That.”

Williams also pushed the boundaries of fashion on the tennis court. Perhaps most notably, at the 2018 French Open, she took to the court in a skintight black catsuit with a red waistband. When she gave birth to her daughter a few months ago, she had a blood clot that threatened her life.

However, the idea of ​​women appearing in such unconventional tennis attire disrupted the organization of Roland Garros and banned such attire from the Paris majors.

Writer Howard Bryant, who wrote "The Heritage: Black Athletes, a Divided America, and the Politics of Patriotism," reports for that Williams' career

"Her status and empire have created dissenting voices and new perspectives," Bryant said in the report.

"In 100 years, if you ask when that change happened, we come back to Serena.

(Reported by Frank Pingue, Toronto, Pritha Sarkar Edited by)