By Suzanne Pogorelec
Serena Williams. It’s a name that generations will revere and honor. Decades from now, kids will still think of her achievements on the tennis court as some of the most impressive in history. If the phrase “23 grand slams” doesn’t make your jaw drop, her earning 84 million dollars from tournaments surely will. This past September Williams announced her retirement and played the U.S. Open in Flushing Meadows, New York, as her last professional tournament.
One word that could be used to sum up Williams’ career is groundbreaking. Even past the age of 40, Williams continued to play the big tournaments and put her body through strenuous training. Furthermore, for a total of around six years during her career, she held the number one singles ranking on the Women’s Tennis Association tour. Even though she is known for her singles play, Williams was also a fantastic doubles player. Besides playing with her sister and amassing 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and three Olympic gold medals in gender doubles, Williams also won Wimbledon and the U.S Open in the mixed doubles category.
While there were responses of shock and sadness to Williams’ announcement, many understand her reasons for retiring and acknowledge the impact her career has had on all sports. Not only has she helped to motivate young athletes with quotes like “Don’t let anyone work harder than you do,” but she has also helped to motivate and lead the way for other women and minorities in sports. Upon hearing Williams’ retirement news, young tennis phenom, Coco Gauff, tweeted, “I grew up watching her. I mean that’s the reason why I play tennis… Tennis being a predominantly-white sport, it definitely helped a lot. Because I saw somebody who looked like me dominating the game. It made me believe that I could dominate too” (NBC).
However, her legacy isn’t just limited to professional athletes. When asked about Williams’ lasting impact, Caroline Bae ’24, a field hockey and swim athlete said, “Serena Williams is an inspiration for women in sports everywhere.” Remy Kim ’25, a member of the Winsor Tennis Team, said “In the years since she joined the tour, Serena has been an inspiration to so many girls, mothers, and tennis players, and in my opinion, completely changed the face of women’s tennis.”
Overall, it seems that Williams will be both missed and honored for her achievements. However, it is an exciting time for the athlete as she has many future plans. She recently told Vogue Magazine, “I’m here to tell you that I’m evolving away from tennis… A few years ago I quietly started Serena Ventures, a venture capital firm. Soon after that, I started a family. I want to grow that family.”. And, who knows, maybe her firm will be just as successful as her tennis career! Even though her exciting matches will be missed, Serena Williams will certainly not be forgotten as she begins a new chapter.