an illustration of a tennis player hitting a tennis ball with a racket

(HS Insider)


Opinion: The unmatched greatness of Serena Williams

As Serena bids goodbye to tennis, she's only getting started.
<a href="" target="_self">Rishi Vridhachalam</a>

Rishi Vridhachalam

November 1, 2022

The recent retirement of Serena Williams brings to an end one of the most storied careers in the history of sports. The unmatched greatness of Serena is such that her accomplishments don’t need any fawning eulogy or an obsequious listing of her victories and trophies.

It certainly doesn’t need me to sing its praises or memorialize its legendary status. But since everyone is sharing their thoughts, I thought I’ll throw my hat in the ring too. 

I do have one visceral connection to Serena that perhaps gives my opinion a little more heft: we are both tennis players. While she grew up in gritty Compton, I live about 30 miles to the south, in Irvine, now marketed as the “Safest City in America”.

While her dad, who had never played tennis, coached Serena, I had the best coaches that money could buy, all before I was 12 years old. 

While the courts that Serena practiced on were often cracked and dilapidated, mine were oases, surrounded by palm trees and manicured lawns. While she has won more grand slams than anyone else in the Open era, my biggest claim to fame is winning the local Boys 14 and under tourney. Well, you get the drift.

Enough about me, then. Fortunately, though she may be done with tennis, Serena being Serena, is not done winning. She’s already an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and fashion icon. And there are other glass ceilings to break and more color barriers to shatter.

But whatever she does, I hope she does it in that black catsuit from the 2018 French Open just to rile up the establishment one last time.