See how Serena Williams became one of the all-time greats
Serena Williams was in many ways the greatest woman tennis player who has ever lived. Not only in tennis, of course. She dominated her sport in numerous other capacities as well.
A young girl from the South Bronx, Williams became an all-American athlete at age 10, earning USA Swimming Coaches Association national youth swimming titles at 17. She went to Duke University, coached by female coach Nancy Lieberman, and became the second woman in history to make the NCAA national championship men’s tennis team.
She returned to Duke as a graduate assistant in 1993 and went on to become a professor and head tennis coach at Duke University. She was only the second woman to ever achieve this, the first being Helen Wills Moody, who started the trend.
But her most important contribution came in 1992, when she became a professor at the International Tennis Hall of Fame in Newport, R.I.
The ITHOF is dedicated to “The Education of Tennis,” which is a key phrase for a sport whose popularity has been rapidly increasing and which has been dominated by men for so long that it has become a caricature of itself. Yet, women dominate the sport in every other way — including in the tennis of women.
“Women on the court are no longer just the object of a man’s gaze. They now compete for the ball,” said the ITHOF. “It is now very rare for women to win a match as their main competitor, yet there is a record of women winning more than 1,900 matches, with 14,000 points.”
In fact, the ITHOF noted that, as of March 7, 2017, there were women who had won more victories on a single court than Serena Williams. Indeed, the record for that day was 14,000 points.
As for Williams, it’s hard to imagine that she played less than her best during her 20-year career.
In addition to being the reigning Wimbledon champion, she was one of the most dominant players of all-time, winning 18 Grand Slam singles titles and also holding the record for the most Grand Slam singles titles (18)