Serena Williams: Greatness Often Ignored
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Serena Williams is the best female tennis player of all time. The New Yorker even dubbed her as “the greatest American athlete of all time.” Currently ranked #1 by the Women’s Tennis Association for Women’s Singles, Williams is no stranger to the the top spot. This is the sixth time that she has been ranked at the number one spot for Women’s Singles since 2002, as she currently holds all four grand slam titles (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open). This feat of winning all four titles in a row has been coined the “Serena Slam,” which Williams also earned in the 2002/2003 season. This differs from the “Calender-Year Grand Slam” in which all four titles are won in the same year. The last time this was achieved was in 1988 by Steffi Graf and has been done a total of three times in the past.
Now, Serena continues to dominate in 2019 by advancing the semi-quarterfinals while beating out higher ranked opponents along the way.
Although oftentimes regarded as the best athlete of all time, much of the conversation about Williams is about her body instead of the legacy of her body of work and skills. She still faces continual blatant racism – a strikingly similar parallel to the racism thrown at Saartjie “Sarah” Baartman.
Baartman, also referred to as Hottentot Venus, was Khoikhoi woman, born in 1790, who was exhibited as a “human circus” attraction in Europe during the 19th century. As a person, what made Baartman such a compelling attraction? Her buttocks. Europeans viewed it as extremely large compared to that of the European woman. After being discovered in her early 20s in her homeland of South Africa, she was sold to London by an enterprising Scottish doctor. Numerous records state that Baartman went to Europe willingly under the impression that she would become rich and famous.