Serena Williams, 33, is setting out on her quest to win the 2015 US Open. A victory in New York, would be her 22nd major championship titles, tying Steffi Graf for second most, behind only Margaret Court.
Tennis is evolving into a younger and younger persons sport. The travel, the physical stress plus the endless practices take a larger and larger toll on the bodies and nerves of players until their performance begins a long downward spiral.
And, then there is Serena Williams. She continues her unstoppable march into the Tennis Hall of Fame and shows no sign of conceding anything to age. How has she managed to navigate the challenges of a grueling sport and the intrusive media every year?
First of all, it is obvious that she is a superior athlete. She is unusually strong and has harnessed that strength into a power game that overwhelms rather that defeats her opponents. She build her game from day one on basics and trained with her sister Venus on a nearly exclusive basis so that both sisters have been the top rated star in the sport. This intense daily competition honed the skills of each to the very highest level possible.
Without regard to any other opinions about their father Richard Williams, he was dedicated to the challenge of nurturing his daughters to be successful as athletes in a sport that was not easily accessible to African American women.
Serena has developed other interests for life beyond tennis in fashion and has shocked many traditional fans with bold outfits, neon colors and style that has liberated the sport from standard and unflattering white skirts. Tennis has been a most useful platform for Serena to promote her style and design skills to a vast and affluent audience. Her vision for own future after tennis keeps her enthusiasm for training and competition as high as possible each year.
Serena understands herself, her sport and her fans. She has done as good a job as any player in the history of the sport in presenting and promoting her brand on her terms. She avoids suggesting that she is a role model, but in fact if the USTA could bottle what she has, the sport would be secure far into the future.