From Wimbledon To Harper’s Bazaar, Serena Williams Is The Total Package

Serena Williams opens up in a personal essay and continues her inspirational legacy.

Serena Williams is moving on to the Wimbledon semifinals for the 12th time. The mother, wife, social rights activist, fashionista, cultural icon, booming brand and GOAT tennis player defeated fellow American Alison Riske 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, this morning.  

Coming off of an explosive and captivating Harper’s Bazaar photo shoot and interview, the multi-talented game-changer transformed from model to Wimbledon master with ease and effectiveness, dropping a set to her younger opponent, but pulling out the win in convincing fashion. 

As her tennis dominance subsides a bit and young guns begin to close the gap, her standing as the epitome of Black girl strength, beauty, diversity, and impact continue to grow. 

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Serena helped redirect the route to becoming elite in the racially-exclusive sport of tennis. For the past 20 years, the road to tennis supremacy has run through Compton, California and not some affluent country club.

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In her first person essay in Harper’s Bazaar, Serena doesn’t hold back, discussing everything from her voice, the person who truly influenced her decision to pick up a racket again and, most impressively, who she needed to apologize to the most for her actions at last year’s US Open- Naomi Osaka.

“Hey, Naomi! It’s Serena Williams. As I said on the court, I am so proud of you and I am truly sorry. I thought I was doing the right thing in sticking up for myself. But I had no idea the media would pit us against each other. I would love the chance to live that moment over again. I am, was, and will always be happy for you and supportive of you. I would never, ever want the light to shine away from another female, specifically another black female athlete. I can’t wait for your future, and believe me I will always be watching as a big fan! I wish you only success today and in the future. Once again, I am so proud of you. All my love and your fan, Serena.”

Serena has historically fought stereotypes,  empowered women and changed outdated beliefs in sports and society through fashion. From her controversial French Open catsuit and the social firestorm that followed to her independent clothing collection, featuring bold and inspired dresses, tops, bottoms and denim for women.

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Serena reflects on controversies in her past and her overall legacy off the court in the essay, but her current order of operations is winning her eighth Wimbledon and finally tying Margaret Court’s record 24 career majors.

As Serena battles injuries and juggles all of these major life changes —  from the birth of daughter Olympia to her near-death experience in the delivery room — the 37-year-old icon has only completed two tournaments in 2019.  

But the positive news is that she’s advanced to the Wimbledon semifinals where she has an almost unbeatable 10-1 record in her last 11 appearances. 

Winning doesn’t come as easy to Serena anymore and there’s a line of young Black tennis hopefuls who once idolized her and are now hoping to take her crown. There’s Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Naomi Osaka and 15-year-old Coco Gauff, who defeated Venus Williams in the tournament before bowing out in the last 16 against Simona Halep

With all of the fresh talent creeping up, it’s remarkable that Serena is still advancing to semifinals of major tournaments. Royalty is earned not given, however, and Serena has the heart of a champion, so she isn’t going to relinquish the crown without a fight. 

She’s even going for another Wimbledon mixed doubles crown with Andy Murray.

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“The wonderful thing about Serena Williams is even when she’s not playing her best tennis she has the will to win,” said tennis legend Chris Evert. “And somehow she geeks out of these matches and that says a lot about her.”

It does, but when it comes to Serena it seems as if we can never say enough about the depth of her impact on society and the magnitude of the inspiration she provides for so many people around the world.

JR Gamble joined The Shadow League in 2012. The General Manager of Content & Social Media is in his 25th year of covering sports and culture professionally. He has covered a wide variety of major sports and entertainment topics across different mediums, including radio, newspapers, magazines and national TV. His passion is baseball, the culturing of baseball and preserving and documenting the historically-impactful accomplishments and contributions of African-Americans in baseball.