Serena Williams stepping aside to facilitate the elevation of those women of color that will continue her and sister Venus decades of Black Girl magic on the tennis courts is becoming a habit.
U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens and Madison Keys have been the recipients of Serenas generosity. In 2017, while still at peak performance, Serena became a spectator for the first time in her career as she took time off to tackle her pregnancy.
Stephens holds the distinction of defeating both Venus and Serena and had been knocking on the door of success before finally knocking it down last year in Flushing, Queens when she put herself at the front of the line as the recipient of Serena Williams crown as American tennis feeding tube.
Stephens and another girl of color Madison Keys dueled it out for a WTA major as Black girl magic took over the tennis culture and for the first time in a very long time, it wasnt the Williams Sisters facing off for another title.
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Sloane Stephens wins her 1st major title at the US Open. The last American woman to win her 1st major at the US Open: Serena Williams, 1999.
On Sunday at Roland Garros, Stephens and Keys each reached the quarterfinals of the French Open for the first time to complete a quartet of sorts.
For Keys, 23, and Stephens, 25, the milestone meant that they had both advanced to the quarterfinals or better at all four Grand Slam events.
Super cool, Stephens said, grinning broadly at the mention of the feat. Isnt that exciting?
While news of tennis rising stars advancing had people talking about another historic majors final matchup, the iconic Williams has an arm injury that has forced her to withdraw from her fourth-round French Open matchup with old foe and PED-stained legend Maria Sharapova.
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Unfortunately, Serena Williams’ comeback was cut short because of injury. https://t.co/VmpZWqosGL
Serena was poised to clash with Sharapova for the 22nd time but had to pull out, due to a right pectoral injury. The injury, unfortunately, puts Serenas legendary comeback from a near-fatal pregnancy on hold and her absence will be a major loss for television, radio and the French Opens marketing possibilities.
Serena Williams VS Maria Sharapova Highlight 2007 AO Final
Serena Williams VS Maria Sharapova Highlight 2007 AO Final By CTXTENNISHD
This is the first time the 36-year-old has withdrawn from a Grand Slam midway through the tournament and she couldnt hide her disappointment as she cast doubt over whether she would play at Wimbledon.
I unfortunately been having some issues with my pec muscle right now I cant actually serve so its actually hard to play when I cant physically serve. I will have an MRI tomorrow. I wont know that [if fit for Wimbledon] until I get those results. Serena told reporters.
While Serenas presence will be missed, it sets the stage for the young guns of the tennis world to face off in another major finals and continue to stir a rivalry that has the potential to make Serena and Venus exit as bearable as possible.
Tennis Champ Sloane Stephens on Winning US Open
Sloane talks about her experience coming back from injury to defeat Madison Keys in the US Open and reveals how the photo was selected for her Sports Illustrated cover.
No. 13 Keys raced out to a 6-1, 5-1 lead and ultimately closed out her 31st-seeded opponent 6-1, 6-4 in 67 minutes. Later Sunday afternoon, No. 10 Stephens put the beats on No. 25 Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-0 in 52 minutes.
In the meantime, we wish Serena a speedy recovery and thank her once again for her generosity.