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Because she’s simply the best

Let’s have a conversation about the best — strike that — the greatest. This isn’t an Aaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady conversation, or Michael Jordan vs. Magic. One name rises to the top — a name whose resume dominates in ways that no other athletes can measure up to. Serena Williams.

Her resume boasts 23 Grand Slam titles (the record), six U.S. Opens, seven Wimbledon titles, seven Australian Opens, three French Opens, four Olympic gold medals, 23 doubles titles, and a career Golden Slam. Williams has won enough awards for several lifetimes.

Born Sept. 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan, and raised in Compton, California, Williams is the youngest of five daughters. Her father, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, learned from tennis books and videos how to coach his daughters Serena and older sister Venus. In daily two-hour practices, the Williams sisters worked themselves to the bone on a concrete court, avoiding potholes and often practicing without nets. Growing up in Compton meant developing a sense of fight — the same fight that would characterize their game on and off the court.

Williams transcended tennis, a historically white and demure sport, by being herself — with solid curves, a signature Afro-style ponytail, and an energetic style of play. What makes Williams’ career, spanning more than two decades, so remarkable is not a spotless record, but the spirit to rise above the criticism of her age, game, and body and set the standard for accomplishment in sports.

Whether she’s serving tennis balls at 128 mph, designing affordable fashion, or teaming up with Beyoncé in music videos, Williams’ lengthy resume solidifies her place among sport’s all-time greats. – Trudy Joseph


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