Last night in the Arthur Ashe Stadium, Venus & Serena Williams went head to head for the 27th time. It wasn’t even the championship game, but it certainly felt like it.
Venus & Serena Williams have an inspirational story for many reasons. Two Black girls rose out of the streets of Compton to take the tennis world by storm. Between them there are nearly 30 singles grand slam titles, not to mention doubles & Olympic gold. They completely changed the game.
Tennis has traditionally been a very white bred sport. Before the Williams sisters, we had the likes of Arthur Ashe, but very few Black prominent players, particularly women. In comes these 2 with their braids & hair full of beads, changing the whole look & dynamic of the game. Venus was the first Black American woman ever to be #1 in the WTA. In the early 2000s it was pretty much the 2 of them winning the majority of the grand slams.
Serena in particular has been controversial over the years. She is very passionate on the court. She yells, she roars, & she’s been known to go after the umpire a few times. It mostly has to do with the stereotype of the angry Black woman. All tennis players yell & curse, but when Serena does it, it becomes a problem. That’s just one of the issues that the sisters have faced.
Serena nearly had not only her career, but her life end a few years ago. She suffered from a major bloodclot in her lungs, as well as battling other injuries. Venus was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease Sjogren’s Syndrome which caused joint pain & fatigue. Many people counted them out, but they each bounced back.
Serena is on a historic run right now. She is the #1 player in the WTA by a mile, currently holds all 4 grand slam titles & should she win the US Open she will have completed a calendar year grand slam, a historic feat not accomplished in nearly 30 years. She is also going for her 22 grand slam title. She is completely dominating. Over the last few years, Venus has struggled due to her disease, but this year she has been playing very well. She is 35 years old, which is up there in tennis years, but she is still competing at a very high level. Even after all of these years, the Williams sisters continue to sit atop the rest.
Last night’s match was their 2nd meeting this year. Most people talked about their rivalry, but what sticks out to me is the love they have for one another. They are close in age & have come thru much of their careers together. They are best friends & for many years it was indeed Venus & Serena.
They respect & admire each other, although they battle hard on the court. They signify a beautiful sisterhood between 2 amazing sisters that goes beyond any titles they could play for. Serena is Venus’ biggest fan & no matter how others speak about Venus losing it, Serena continues to hold her sister up in the highest regards. Even after their duel & Serena’s victory, Venus met her at the net with a big smile & genuine love & pride for her baby sister. Within that embrace was a love so far beyond any trophy they can win.
Serena continues to chase history & now having faced her most formidable opponent, she will more than likely achieve it. They’ll both go down in history for being 2 of the greatest players to ever conquer tennis & huge inspirations. Venus recently completed a degree & Serena is on the road to finally earning the respect she deserves. But the most beautiful thing is that thru all of the years, comparisons, & competition, there endures a deep love & devotion between sisters.