September 26 – Happy Birthday, Serena Williams!

Posted on September 26, 2018

The place was Saginaw, Michigan.
The date was September 26, 1981.
A child was born.

Who knew, then, that that child would grow up to be an icon, a queen, a star?

Serena Williams has been a star in women's tennis for a long time. She holds some records and has some really impressive stats, and many tennis experts say that she is the greatest female player of the Open Era. She has changed the game, like many other champions before her. And she has also been the focus of quite a bit of controversy.

Last year Williams gave birth to a daughter. Unfortunately, she had some complications and a really rough time during and after the birth; fortunately, she fought her way back to health and is making a comeback on the tennis court. 

Williams stopped playing tennis in February of 2017, ranked #1, because she was pregnant. But being away from tennis for 14 months, her ranking fell to 453 in the world! But she reached the finals of the 2018 Wimbledon AND the 2018 US Open, so she has already risen back up to #16 in the world. Wow!

Here are just some of the big-time accomplishments of Serena Williams:

  • Tied with Steffi Graf for the most consecutive weeks (186 weeks) at Number 1 by a female tennis player.
  • Ranked #1 eight separate occasions, and third in total number of weeks at #1 (319 weeks) by a female tennis player.
  • Ranked #1 among all active players, male and female, for most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined.
  • Most recent female player to have a Grand Slam (in 2014-2015). A Grand Slam is winning all four of the biggest tennis titles in one year.
  • One out of only three players (male or female) to have two Grand Slams.
  • Tied for most Olympic Gold Medals (4 Gold Medals) in tennis - tied with her sister Venus!

I could go on, but there are too many accomplishments to list here.

Some of the changes Serena Williams and her sister Venus have made on their sport ramping up the athleticism among female tennis players and challenging racism and sexism in the sport. Serena has also changed the way people think about tennis clothing, being a trend setter but also an inspiration for controversy. She has designed fashion and has lines of athletic wear, handbags, jewelry, and even nails. 

Above and below, pieces from Serena's fashion lines.

Williams has also become an activist for social justice issues. Some of Williams's endorsements capitalize on the fact that she pushes back against racism and sexism.

This Nike ad speaks to the fact that the French Open
officials outlawed the sort of "costume" Serena Williams
wore this year (above), even though it was worn partly
for medical necessity!

Also on this date:

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