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New York (AFP) – Serena Williams has gone from learning tennis on the public courts to a gangster-controlled neighborhood, becoming the star of generations and perhaps the greatest player in history.
The 40-year-old legend announced Tuesday via Instagram that the “countdown has begun” to her retirement in a candid Vogue story.
The African American has become an icon in a white-dominated sport. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles, broken records and achieved accomplishments with determination as strong as the energy of her shots on the field.
Seven major title winners Serena and her sister Venus were executive producers of King Richard (King Richard), the story of their father, Richard Williams, who taught them tennis while growing up on the rugged streets of Compton, California.
“I’m still just that racquet girl who dreams and I play for it,” Serena said after winning the US Open in 2013.
And she was already up to these dreams, and she won the Wimbledon and Australian Open seven times, three titles at Roland Garros and six in the United States, and stands one title away from equaling the record for the major championships held by Australian Margaret Court.
She won her first major title in New York in 1999 at the age of 17 and her last in 2017 in Australia when she was pregnant with daughter Olympia.
Olympia gave birth in September 2017 and spent six weeks bedridden with a pulmonary embolism, but struggled to get back on the court after five months in FA Cup doubles (currently the Billie Jean King Cup) alongside Venus.
Williams, who is married to Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, has twice completed what has come to be known as Serena Salam, winning four major titles in a row, doing so in 2002-03 starting with the 2002 French Open and again in 2014-2015 starting with the US Open United Open 2014.
She had a chance to win all of the Grand Slams in one year, but she was surprised when she fell to Italian Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals of the 2015 US Open.
“I never wanted to focus on numbers,” Williams said. “I started playing tennis not to be the best but just because I had a racket and a dream. Now people say I might be (the greatest), but for me, I’m not there yet.”
“Players like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf are, to me, the greatest icons in the history of women’s tennis.”
Williams brought style and strength to her performances, and at times her signature outfits distracted from her dazzling efforts on the field.
She won her last 73 singles titles at Auckland in January 2020, her only title since becoming a mother.
She had four chances to equal Kurt’s record but lost the finals at both Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019.
Suffering and setbacks
She also faced many struggles and sufferings. Her sister by her mother and another father, Yetonde Price, was shot dead in 2003 at the age of 31 by a gang member in their hometown of Compton. She was Serena’s personal assistant.
After injuring her foot after stepping on broken glass at a German restaurant days after winning Wimbledon in 2010, she required two surgeries and spent 20 weeks wearing a cast, an incident she said caused blood clots in her lungs in 2011. threatened her life. She was absent for about a year and from three major tournaments.
Serena said in 2011 that doctors “said I have clots in both lungs. Lots of people die from it because you don’t notice…I couldn’t breathe, I honestly thought I was in bad shape…It could have ended my career.” “.
“It’s hard for something like this to happen randomly when you’re at the top of his career, and it really makes me appreciate things.”
Williams credited her success with her father’s business and stuck to it even after her parents separated.
“I wouldn’t have won a single title without him and without his support,” said the player, who will celebrate her 41st birthday next month. “He’s a great coach. He’s very innovative.”
“He built my style and my sister’s style. He gave us good foundations. She was solid and wasn’t weak, so we were always able to develop.”
Richard Williams allowed the other children to tease his two daughters during exercises.
“To be successful, you have to prepare for the unexpected — and I wanted to prepare for it. Criticism can bring out the best in you,” he told CNN in 2015.
© 2022 AFP
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