Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams at the 2019 Hopman Cup

"Without what they have achieved, I would have never entered tennis"- Frances Tiafoe on Venus and Serena Williams

Gauri Awasthi

Frances Tiafoe recently spoke to L'Equipe about the impact Venus and Serena Williams have had on the sport and how their accomplishments inspired him to pick up the tennis racket. Tiafoe had teamed up with Serena Williams to represent USA at the 2019 Hopman Cup.

The World No. 38 began by underlining the importance of the the Williams sisters, especially within the African-American community. He highlighted how they were one of the few players of color to play the sport, and that their success paved the way for players like Sloane Stephens and Coco Gauff.

"The name of the Williams is so important, even more so in the African-American community," Frances Tiafoe said. "Without what they have achieved, I would never have entered the world of tennis. Earlier, apart from them, there were no other colored players. What they have also succeeded in bringing, in their wake, are the Sloane Stephens, the Coco Gauffs."
Frances Tiafoe and Serena Williams represented the USA at the 2019 Hopman Cup

The 23-year-old further hailed Serena Williams as the GOAT before emphasizing how her greatness goes beyond the tennis court. He spoke about how everyone in the neighborhood he grew up in knows the 23-time Major champion and how they often relate the sport to the Williams sisters.

"She's a GOAT (Greatest Of All Time)," Tiafoe continued, "and for decades! She is so much more than what she has accomplished in tennis. I grew up in a neighborhood where everyone around, in every corner, knows Serena Williams. When I go back and say I play tennis, the first thing I hear is, "Ah! Like the Williams sisters!"

"I wanted to be like them, to not only have a great career but to also transcend my sport ”: Frances Tiafoe

Venus and Serena Williams won gold in the doubles category at the London Olympics

Frances Tiafoe recalled watching Venus and Serena Williams play at the US Open and how he would often see Hollywood celebrities in their player boxes. He revealed that his younger self drew inspiration from that and strived not just to build a successful career, but to also "transcend the sport".

"The other sportsmen respect them enormously," said the American of Venus and Serena Williams. "When I came to see the US Open matches, I remember the boxes on the courts where they played were overflowing with Hollywood stars. I told myself that I wanted to be like them: not only to have a great career in tennis but also to transcend the sport ”

Edited by Sarbajaya Bhattacharya
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