Thursday, September 29, 2022

Serena Williams, the American who revolutionized women’s tennis

More than a domain, Serena Williams revolutionized women’s tennis during her two-decade reign, placing her just one step away from Margaret Court’s historic record of 24 Grand Slam trophies.

The American “changed tennis”, “opened the doors”, “invented bullying” and “brought the business”, his coach Patrick Mouratoglu told AFP in September 2021, to explain why his champion was the best player in history.

As he approaches his 41st birthday (September 26), Williams announced on Tuesday that the “countdown” to his retirement has begun.

Since he was given his first racket, shortly after his fourth birthday, only his sister Venus occasionally came to challenge his superiority in tennis. The same happened as a child in the unsafe streets of Compton (Los Angeles), where Serena attracted less eyes than her 15-month-old older sister.

But his father, Richard, always saw it clearly. Assured by a coach that he had “the next Michael Jordan” on Venus, then ten years old, he replied, “No, I have the next two.”

The former manager of a security company, Richard Williams was the key figure in the careers of the sisters, whom they coached from a very young age, learning the coaching trade through books and videos. Helmed by Will Smith, his story was told in the hit film ‘King Richard’ in 2021.

Serena was the first of the Williams sisters to win a Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open, just before her 18th birthday.

Venus became world number one in 2002, shortly before her sister. From Roland Garros in 2002 to the Australian Open in 2003, four consecutive Grand Slam tournaments ended with a single final, Williams against Williams, and an unprecedented win for Serena.

– win by KO –

In addition to the biggest trophies, the money also came quickly. The sports equipment brands signed with the two sisters to multi-million dollar contracts when they were teenagers changed the lives of this family of nine members, as did five other children from the parents’ previous unions.

Then the sisters’ paths parted. While Venus specialized on the grass court at Wimbledon, where she won five times, Serena dominated all surfaces with a straightforward strategy: trying to set points as quickly as possible, while avoiding spoilers on long runs. Use your muscles and unique power to ,

your weapons? Serve, which sometimes exceeds 200 km/h and forehand. Confidence too. Williams is sure that when she plays her best tennis, no one can beat her, but life’s mishaps haven’t always allowed her to prove it.

Between 2003 and 2004, he was absent for eight months following knee surgery. Although he was only 21 at the time, there were doubts about whether he would return to top competition, as he seemed to have other interests such as fashion and television.

– Tragedy –

In 2010, Williams suffered a cut in his leg from broken glass and a pulmonary embolism nearly killed him in March 2011.

Her setbacks, and especially the tragedy that struck her family in September 2003, when her half-sister Yetunde was shot dead in Los Angeles, made her more human in the eyes of fans, part of which was her Was a bit tired seeing it. the gain

With a colossal record – seven Australian Open titles, three Roland Garros, seven Wimbledon and six US Open titles, as well as 13 Grand Slam doubles trophies with her sister and four Olympic gold medals – Serena Williams made her 23rd debut in Australia in 2017. Won the major tournament. And since then he has been chasing another victory to equal the record set by an Australian court between 1959 and 1975.

Some saw the birth of their first daughter, Olympia, in September 2017 as a sign of early retirement after a complicated pregnancy and childbirth, but the youngest of Williams made it an added impetus to write her name in tennis history .

Returning to competition in March 2018, Serena reached another four finals, two at Wimbledon and two at the US Open, but fell short of the coveted title.

(FIN) AFP/JSO

Published: 8/9/2022


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