There’s probably nothing left for Serena Williams to prove on the court anymore. She is the undisputed queen with an incredibly staggering 21 Grand Slam titles beside her name and a win away from the elusive, Open Era record-equalling 22nd Major trophy.
But that is not all that defines the World No. 1. For every athlete who is at the pinnacle of her sport, there comes a huge responsibility with it. Such an athlete’s words carry a lot of weight and can serve as an inspiration for the upcoming generation who look up to her.
Serena knows the power that she has been bestowed with – the power to change the way the world looks at women players. After her thunderous 48-minute semi-final victory over Elena Vesnina, when the issue of equal pay reared its ugly head in the press conference again, the American was quick to shoot it down with a reply that is so becoming of her.
“Basically, my whole life I’ve been doing this. I haven’t had a life. I don’t think I would deserve to be paid less because of my sex or anyone else for that matter in any job.”
Serena did not stop there. Being the lifelong ambassador for equality that she and her elder sister Venus are, the 34-year-old succinctly pointed out the root cause of this problem plaguing the society. Urging people and the press to change their outlook, she sent across a message with as much aplomb as she has when she is ruling the court.
“I would like to see people, the public, the press, other athletes in general, just realise and respect women for who they are and what we are and what we do.”
Still, when a journalist persisted and asked her views on the common chatter about Serena going down as one of the ‘greatest female athletes of all-time’, the six-time Wimbledon champion voiced a reply that will reverberate through the All England Club for a long time.
“I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time’!
This time, she hit the nail right on the head!
It is not just on the court that her shots always find the lines. Off-court too, she is as effective as she is on it. And that is exactly what the world expects from a woman at the top of her game – to lead the path. The equality dispute has been an age-old debate but perhaps no athlete has ever explained it in such few words with so much grace and poise.
“I just have this desire to be the best that I can be and I know that for me it is just the best,” the legend says.
She indeed is the best – the queen in whatever she does!