The Retirement of a Tennis Icon: Serena Williams

There are athletes, and there are star athletes. Very few athletes, however, transcend the sport they play to become a worldwide phenomenon. Serena Williams was one of these select few. 

Even those who do not watch tennis know who Serena Williams is and what she represents. Williams found the means to work her way out of a relatively niche sport into this worldwide status.

How did she do it? She did it simply by being great.

Williams took home 23 Grand Slam singles titles in her 27-year career, ranking second all-time in the Open Era. She accumulated a total of 858 tour victories, 23 singles titles and four Olympic gold medals.

Not only that, one of the great accomplishments in tennis is named after her with the “Serena Slam.” If an athlete has an accomplishment named after them, their mark on a sport is indelible. 

Williams also rarely found herself at the center of controversy. In a day and age where every move regarding an athlete is micromanaged and scandals can ruin legitimacy of certain titles, Williams displayed all of the traits of a top athlete. She played with tenacity and intensity, giving everything she had on the court every single day. 

It’s easy to relate to and root for someone who simply gives his or her all in what they do. 

Williams is a special kind of great and a name that will be talked about for years to come. She’s the kind of athlete that the next generation will ask the current generation about, and some of the greatest stories will be told.  

Despite the incredible accolades accumulated throughout her career, Williams’ story did not have the ending she was hoping for. After announcing that the U.S. Open would be her final professional tournament in the sport, the 40-year-old suffered a third round loss to Australia’s Ajla Tomljanović.

Williams, however, felt nothing but pride for her career after the match and attributed a great deal of her success to her sister, Venus. 

“These are happy tears, I guess,” Williams told media after the match. “I don’t know. And I wouldn’t be Serena if there wasn’t a Venus, so thank you Venus. She’s the only reason Serena Williams ever existed … It’s been a fun ride. It’s been the most incredible journey I’ve ever been on.”

Lipowski is a sports reporter for the Liberty Champion. Follow him on Twitter

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