It’s been an incredible Black History Month so far, and already we’ve been able to honor tons of iconic figures in music, sports, media, and more. On Day 17 of our #LiveCivilBHM series, we’re covering one of the most famous females in sports, Serena Williams.
The tennis legend has come a long way, and fought tremendous odds to become the champion of multiple world tournaments, currently standing in the no. 1 spot for women’s singles tennis. Beginning her tennis skills at age three, Serena grew up in Compton with her family, including her sister, Venus Williams.
At age 9, she moved with her family to West Palm Beach, Florida, where she attended the Rick Macci tennis academy, training with him, alongside her mother and father as coaches. Serena and her sister both faced derogatory comments from white parents while playing in national junior tennis tournaments, which made their father start teaching them the sport at their home.
Although she began playing professionally in 1995, she won her first championship title in 2002, when she eventually became the world no. 1 for the first time in July of that year after winning the 2002 Wimbledon Championships. She also went on to become the first woman to win three Grand Slam tournament titles since 1997. The press eventually gave her accomplishment the term, “Serena Slam.”
In 2006, she admitted to suffering from depression, and eventually started seeing a therapist frequently. While meeting a girl who idolized her, it inspired her to get back in the game, and has gone on to win 21 Grand Slam titles today, which is the third on the all-time list. As of last year, she is the second highest-paid athlete, and was recently named Sportsperson of the Year by Sport’s Illustrated.
Thank you, Serena, for always being an inspiration to women everywhere, and always proving the critics wrong.
Happy Black History Month!