5 Reasons Why Serena Williams is a Fantastic Role Model
We should all be rooting for the tennis pro.
At almost 34, Serena Williams has been dominating on the tennis court for more than half her life. She made her pro debut 20 years ago, at the age of 14. That's right, while her classmates were preparing for awkward middle school dances, Williams became a professional athlete.
Since then, she's spent 255 weeks as the No. 1 ranked women's singles player in the world, won four Olympic gold medals, and now she could be the first woman since 1988 to pull off a true Grand Slam (winning all four major tennis titles in one year).
Williams been on fire in 2015 and everyone knows it — after all, it was just announced that the women's US Open final sold out before the men's for the first time EVER. Not to jinx it or anything, but we all want to see her win and make history.
Even if you're not sitting courtside for the highly anticipated final (it'll go down Sept. 12 if all goes according to plan), you can still root for Williams on and off the court. Here's why the tennis pro is someone we can all look up to.
1. She's an Unbelievable Athlete
Williams' stats are beyond impressive. Here are a few quick ones:
*She holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female
*She's the only tennis player, female or male, to win singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments
*She and older sister Venus are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles tournament finals
*She's been ranked No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions
* The "Serena Slam" — the feat of winning four Grand Slam tournaments in a row— was named for her
2. She Embraces Her Body
Williams ain't got no time for the haters, that's for sure. She embraces her curves and has no problem shutting down anyone who thinks she should do any different. The 33-year-old regularly posts bikini pictures on Instagram and proudly shows off her strong physique.
“I realized that you really have to learn to accept who you are and love who you are. I’m really happy with my body type, and I’m really proud of it," she told the New York Times.
As testament to her beauty, she's been featured on the cover of Vogue twice. This April, she became the first black female athlete to have a picture by herself on the cover.
3. Her Awesome Sibling Rivalry
It can't always be easy to compete against your older sister all of the time, but Venus and Serena do so with grace. They're sometimes competitors, sometimes partners, and always BFFs and it's awesome. The next time you go squabble with your sister, take a page from their sister guidebook.
Older sister Venus told People in July: "From the very beginning [Serena] has inspired me. This was a long time ago, before she won the majors – her heart on the court and her ability to perform under the most pressure … nothing has changed. It's a special quality that not a lot of people have."
4. She Gives Back
Somewhere in all of this being awesome, Williams makes time for charity work. Back in 2008, her foundation created the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya. The Serena Williams Foundation also gives college scholarships for underprivileged students in the United States every year. The tennis star also regularly supports other charitable organizations like Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Elton John AIDS Foundation and more.
5. Even Her Competitors are Cheering for Her
You know you're an incredible person and athlete when even your fiercest competitors are in your corner. The world's No.2 player Simona Halep said in a recent interview that she'll be rooting for Williams at the US Open. "If I will not be in the finals, I want her to win," Halep said.
Of course, she added: "If I will be in the finals with her, I want to win."
Three-time Grand Slam champion Lindsay Davenport talked about Williams' accomplishments on and off the court: "Serena has shown that you can be tough, you can be fearless, you can be courageous, you can be a competitor and you can still be a woman.
She was the most intimidating opponent I ever faced. With some players you would be intimidated by their record or their game, like with Steffi Graf. But with Serena you were scared by absolutely everything - her passion, her attitude, how she serves, the power she has, her athleticism.
She plays tennis at a different level. She is better than any player on tour even if she is only at 80% - and I think she would still win a ton of matches at just 50%."