sports, women

Serena: A brief video history of how we got here

Okay. Let’s maybe start at the beginning, then jump forward a lot, make some general assumptions, and then let’s get to match that led to this press conference. There is going to be a lot of videos. Watch em.


I think its really interesting to watch the story of Serena through video. And frankly, videos tell a story much faster than writing. Plus, you can do some cool things with audio. Obviously. But notice the story here. The underlying message.

  • The first thing to know is that Serena’s primary reason for existence is playing tennis. She has trained since a child and it is her career. Her life is entirely centered on tennis. She couldn’t have gotten to where she is had it not been.
  • She is second all-time with 23 Grand Slams. Her name appears over and over in record books. She is considered one of the greatest, if not the greatest, women’s tennis player of all time. And even other say she is the greatest tennis player and athlete of all time.
  • Serena doesn’t fit the mold of Women’s tennis. She is African American, who is outspoken, wears tight fitting clothes, and is physically imposing. She has been attacked over and over for these things.
  • She is a newer mother and is back competing. That is amazing.
  • It is obvious that part of her belief and that of close associates, including Nike, is that because she isn’t the right kind of women’s tennis player, she gets punished, pushed out, picked on, receives different treatment. Even before this year’s French Open she was told she couldn’t wear her one piece suit (see Nike ad and Tweet  below), despite her wearing it to reduce the chance of blood clots.



So, consider those points above as context for the most recent US Open. A passionate woman, who feels she has been treated different her entire life, is chasing the greatest of all-time, is a recent mother, finds herself losing in a final.  All sports have mental aspect and little things can distract, even beset performances – even for the best players.

As you watch the highlights below, Imagine being Serena. You carry an ethnicity, a gender, and motherhood on your shoulders.

From Carlos Ramos (the official) perspective, I am sure that being called a thief or having your integrity, the very essence of your career called into question, is not something that is taken lightly. Ramos can call the match how he would like. It is his right and he is one of the most experience officials in tennis (Carlos Ramos). And, even looking at the numbers, women are not penalized more than men.

Also, talk about it coming full circle for Serena.


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