Serena and Venus Williams are Champions on and off the CourtMarch 12, 2017 |
by James B. Ewers Jr.
History being made has defined Serena and Venus Williams since they started playing tennis as children. While neither was born in Compton, California, their family moved there when they were youngsters. Venus, who is older, was born in Lynwood, California, and Serena was born in Saginaw, Michigan.
March is Women’s History Month, so honoring the Williams sisters seems to be a natural fit. Women’s History Month began as National Women’s Week in 1980. Women’s History Month started in 1987 by an act of the U.S. Congress. Venus and Serena are well suited to be honored during this time and, in fact, any other time as well. Sharing the Williams story is important to young girls everywhere and should be required reading.
Venus was 10 years old and Serena a bit younger when their family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. There, they were students at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy. It was the wisdom and discernment their parents had to make for this type of cross-country move. Think about it, the entire family made a major geographical move with the belief that Serena and Venus had a future in tennis.
The Williams sisters became a dominant force on the tennis courts. At one point, Venus was 63-0 on the USTA (United States Tennis Association) Junior Tour. Serena’s dominance was just as great.
Their list of accomplishments is awe-inspiring. For example, Venus has won five Wimbledon titles and little sister Serena has won seven Wimbledon titles. They have won on all surfaces in convincing fashion. Their titles include singles, doubles and mixed doubles championships.
In their championship run, they have represented the United States in the Olympics and have won four gold medals. In all, Venus and Serena Williams have won more than 100 singles titles.
While some may debate this point, I don’t know if there has ever been another more formidable family duo and there seems to be no end in sight. In January, Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam tennis title as she lifted the Australian Open trophy. Even if you are a casual tennis and\or sports fan, you know that she defeated her sister, Venus, in the final. This is just incredible!
The French Open will be the Williams sisters’ next major test and it will be held in May. Recently, it was announced that Serena will not play in Indian Wells nor in Miami. I believe the reason is that she wants to concentrate on the majors and both the Indian Wells and Miami tournaments are on hard courts while the French Open is a clay court tournament. Venus has not made an announcement as of yet.
There is one last record that Serena will achieve in the future. Australian Margaret Court won 24 major titles; however, 13 of those titles came before the Open era that began in 1968.
So, I believe she will win another major title sooner and not later. Serena Williams is 35 years of age and still playing at a very high level. She is as quick as a cat and the power in her serve rivals the serves of some professional male tennis players.
Almost lost in her 23rd Grand Slam major victory is the fact she regained her No. 1 ranking. Angelique Kerber from Germany had been ranked No. 1 since September 2016. Before that time, Serena Williams had been top ranked for 186 consecutive weeks. Are you kidding me? If you follow the sport like I do, you might think that the only person that can beat Serena Williams is Serena Williams.
You can run out of superlatives talking about the Williams sisters. We are experiencing history right in front of our eyes. The Williams sisters are role models for sure, so parents and love providers should have your daughters study them.
Women’s History Month is a good time to start.
When they make the International Tennis Hall of Fame, there should be a place for their parents. Richard and Oracene Williams deserve to be there. They have raised their daughters to be champions on and off the court.
Dr. James B. Ewers Jr. served as a vice president and admissions director at several colleges and universities before retiring in 2012. A motivational speaker and workshop leader, he is the author of Perspectives From Where I Sit: Essays on Education, Parenting and Teen Issues.Semantic Tags: African Americans/Black • Diversity • Serena Williams • Tennis • Venus Williams • Women's History Month