Serena Williams ‘paved the way’ for mothers to keep playing tennis, says Martina Navratilova
By the time she was 24, Serena Williams had made it to the top of her sport.
She won four Grand Slam titles in the early ’90s, including a Wimbledon title and the US Open title the year following. She later became the first American woman to win a Grand Slam at age 14.
“I think we paved the way for women who are still playing to enjoy what [women’s tennis] is about. I think that’s what we created,” Williams said in an interview Tuesday on CBS’ “The Chris Rose Show.”
Her remarks were met with a round of applause in the studio, with her longtime coach Anna Kournikova, who is two years her junior and is now her personal adviser, also in attendance. Kournikova grew up playing tennis when she was just 10 years old.
“I think we paved the way for women who are still playing to enjoy what [women’s tennis] is about. I think that’s what we created,” Williams said in an interview on CBS’ “The Chris Rose Show.”
Williams is one of only six female players in history to win back-to-back Wimbledon championship titles. The first ever such dual women’s title for the sport came in 1990 when Steffi Graf beat Chris Evert in the final. In addition to winning the French Open in 1993, Williams won the Olympic gold medal and Wimbledon later that year.
Now in her 40s, the five Grand Slam championships she has won and the 18 major singles titles she has won are impressive accomplishments, but they are not a guarantee of success in the sport.
“This sport is so unique and so diverse,” she said. “So, the fact that the sport is where it is, that you’re not necessarily going to succeed at it, but if you don’t give a good effort, you’ll have a hard time.
“I don’t think people realize how competitive the women’s game is. There are a lot of strong women who love to play,” she said. “I just saw it this month at a women’s exhibition in Miami.”
While Williams does not see herself as a “superstar,” she sees herself as a role model for her daughter, Olympia