There is no denying that Serena Williams is an all time tennis great. We will be discussing her abilities for as long as the game is played and she is an excellent ambassador for this game.
The one notable negative moment in her career, will be her reaction to the officiating in last year’s U.S open. After an emotional exchange with official Carlos Ramos, she was penalized a game in her match with the 21 year old Naomi Osaka. She smashed a racket and called Ramos a “thief” in an unfortunate exchange that divided followers of the sport all over the world. The controversy overshadowed what should have been Osaka’s moment and she was left crying during the awards ceremony (story HERE). Everyone involved lost that day.
Williams recently announced that she’s taken steps to correct that. In a magazine interview with Harper’s Bazaar, she said that she couldn’t find peace because of that moment, and that she reached out to Osaka with an apology (story HERE).
That’s professionalism. That’s wisdom. And it was right thing to do. That’s what champions do.
When you’re a sports superstar, everyone is telling you “yes”. There are very few honest opinions presented to you. This is mostly because of money. This is why so many athletes, entertainers, and politicians are out of touch.
Williams began going to therapy and taking steps to be great in every dimension of her life. With someone with nothing to lose, that takes tremendous honesty with one’s self.
This was not demanded of her. Like so many other lost stars, she could have just moved on, she would have been protected.
Not her. She understands that she’s also a role model for tennis players all over the world. Even after she sets down the racket for the final time, her entire tennis legacy will be remembered.
And it was an apology and an honest moment with herself that will help ensure she’s always remembered as one of the greatest athletes of this generation, both on the court as a player, and as a person off of it.