6 Things We Love About Serena Williams

 

Update 5.29.18: Today Serena Williams returned to Roland Garros in her bid to collect the most Grand Slam titles ever. Margaret Court currently holds that distinction, but Serena is right behind her and motivated to take the crown. For her return to Paris, the most fashionable city in the world, Serena sported a catsuit for, "All the moms out there who had a tough pregnancy and had to come back and try to be fierce." Mission accomplie!

 

The BNP Paribas Indian Wells tournament kicks off March 5th, and with it, the return of Serena Williams to the pro-tour. To my knowledge, a comeback of this magnitude has never occurred in the history of the sport. But, rendering impossible feats commonplace is a realm in which Williams shines. 

 

Now, I'm not going to lie, when I first heard that Serena was pregnant, I thought, What!? Now? But, what about the all-time grand slam record? We're so close. Yes, we :) A fan since she and big sister Venus rocked beads and braces, teenagers strutting onto the court with swag that crushed the hope of opponents before playing a single point. I'm emotionally invested! I also thought this is the end of an era.  After two decades in the sport, longer than I ever expected either sister to play, it was over. 

 

SW Supergirl.jpg

When Serena declared her intention to return to the tour, it was a welcome announcement. No deferred dreams or what could have been scenarios here, thank you very much. The mission, to collect at least two more grand slam trophies continues. I was excited about the possibilities of Serena's return. But, I also wondered, as many others have - could it be done?

 

I wouldn't bet against her. After all, she's been in this situation before - on the comeback trail. And, there's a reason we call her the G.O.A.T. But, in case you've forgotten, here are the top 6 things we love about the legendary Serena Williams:

 

  • 1. Where other people see limitations - her age, recovery from the pregnancy, up-and-coming talent, and the rigors of the tour - she sees opportunity. Another "impossible" to check off of the list. Believing in herself and her ability to perform is her calling card, and she continues to excel in competition, long after her contemporaries exited the big stage. It would be a mistake to bet against her. 

 

  • 2. Her tenacity and competitive drive are unmatched. In interviews, Serena as well as her mother Oracene, have stated that she hates to lose (almost more than she enjoys winning). Her mother once said, "Serena would beat me if I were on the other side of the net." I'd say that is a high level of focus and drive!  We can learn a lot about true motivation and how to approach our dreams from an elite athlete, like Serena Williams. When you're ready to steamroll your mother in pursuit of your goals, then, by all means, go for it. 

 

  • 3. A willingness to go it alone. Tennis is an individual sport. It's you against your opponent. Except for on-court coaching in the WTA, which I don't recall Serena using - ever. I appreciate her ability to problem solve, finding the solutions from within, and then executing her game plan. It's one of the reasons she is so successful.

 

  • 4. Her stance on issues impacting people of color, and women. Serena has grown into the role of an advocate, using her platform as a means to highlight the problems of inequality, and the need for institutional reform in the United States.

 

  • 5. Serena's evolution as a player. I used to marvel at the power of her shots, but over the years I've come to appreciate her strategic play. Serena has shown a willingness to incorporate new ideas, information, and techniques into her game. But, she always seems to remain faithful to her game and play to her strengths.

 

  • 6. The outfits. I couldn't resist a shout out for the on-court attire we've seen over the years. From the outrageous denim and calf-high boots or the catsuit to culturally relevant prints, and classic looks. Redefined the sport of tennis, including its fashion, has been a hallmark of the Williams sisters. 

 

Serena Williams tenacity, mastery of the game, and domination over the field has been incredible to watch. I know she'll retire at some point. But, not yet. She has magic, the kind you miss when it's gone.  So I'm going to watch as long as she's playing. And, I'm confident that this comeback, like so many others before, will be successful.