The Serena effect

Serena Williams

The Serena effect
September 26
01:00 2019

Serena Williams will go down as one of, if not the best, female tennis player of all time.  Her impact on the game is undeniable.  She has influenced so many young women of color to try the sport.

To date, Williams has won 23 grand slam singles titles, the second most of all time, just one behind Margaret Court.  She does, however, have the most grand slam titles in the open era for men or women.  

We have seen an influx of young women of color hit the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) over the past decade.  Many of these women have had major success on the tour.  Naomi Osaka, Sloane Stevens, Taylor Townsend, Madison Keys and Coco Gauff are just a few of the young ladies making waves on the WTA currently.

These ladies have accomplished great things such as winning major titles and becoming the World’s No. 1 ranked player at one point in time.  I don’t see this trend ending anytime soon.

I have never seen so many women of color gracing my TV screen and playing the game of tennis at such a high level.  I would be lying if I said I wasn’t happy to see these young ladies rising in a game that typically is foreign to many people of color, not because of skill or interest, but more due to accessibility and other limitations.

The impact Williams has had on the game of tennis was what I thought Tiger Woods was going to do in the game of golf.  For some reason or another, we have not seen that same influx of young minority men rise in the game of golf.  I have a thought as to why that is, but I don’t want to change the narrative of this column.

I would be remiss if I did not mention Venus in this article as well.  She has not had the same sustained success that her sister has enjoyed, but she is still one of the all-time greats of the sport.  Williams has won 7 grand slam singles titles in her career and was the first African American woman to reach No. 1 in the world in the open era.  

Venus is credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women’s professional tennis tour, but Serena has taken that to another level.  Her consistent high level of play for over two decades is something we have never seen in the sport of tennis.

Typically, the age of 30 is when most tennis players, male and female, tend to decline in the sport.  For some reason, Serena has defied the odds by maintaining her excellence well into her 30s.  As she closes in on 40, we will see how long she can continue to compete with the young guns of the sport.

What I am really excited to see is if one of these young women of color in the sport can eclipse what Williams has done.  That will be a tough task, as Serena has set the bar pretty high and she is not quite done yet.

The greatest satisfaction for me is these women are showing that people of color can play more sports than just football, basketball or track.  My wish is that this trend extends to other sports so one day we can have a Michael Jordan of hockey or lacrosse.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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