Serena Williams, the gusty, determined feminist icon on and off the court

Written by: Maitreyee Boruah
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Bengaluru, July 10: When Williams sisters-Venus (36) and Serena (34)-first stormed into the tennis circuit in the mid-nineties, together they brought new energy and power into professional women tennis.

Almost two decades later, on Saturday (July 9) Serena Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title at the Wimbledon women's finals, 2016.


This was also her seventh Wimbledon singles titles. The sports legend equalled Steffi Graf's (another tennis luminary) record of pocketing 22 Grand Slam titles. The younger Williams sister is just two short of Margaret Court's record, who has won 24 Grand Slam singles titles to her credit.

The world number one had an emphatic 7-5, 6-3 victory over German fourth seed Angelique Kerber, watched by millions across the world on the TV.

For a while let us forget the number of titles won by Serena, although it is a difficult idea to mull about. Looking at the way she is playing at the age of 34, Serena looks like a hungry teenager who wants to be part of the pantheon of tennis stars.

That is why in a post-match ode to Serena, The Guardian wrote, "Serena Williams, in numbers and deed, in the sheer power of her narrative and the exhilarating manner of her tennis, will be regarded - if not today, certainly soon enough - as the Muhammad Ali of her calling."

The American sports star has achieved greater glory in tennis after she turned 30 unlike other women players, most of who retire by that age. It is her consistency and power play on the court-two of her major positives that helped her win hearts across the world. And off the court it is her straightforwardness with which she speaks about controversial issues.

Take for instance the much-debated topic of equal pay for male and female players. Serena, post her semi-final victory at the Wimbledon said, "I don't deserve to be paid less because of my sex. Basically my whole life I've been doing this. I haven't had a life."

"I would like to see people--the public, the press, other athletes in general - just realise and respect women for who they are and what we are and what we do."

Serena is one of the most vocal voices demanding equal pay for women tennis players. Like the 34-year-old American tennis player, many well-known and respected women from various fields have been demanding pay parity in their respective occupations.

Those who scoff at the very mention of the word feminism should try to catch the repeat telecast of one of the most entertaining games of tennis when Serena overpowered Angelique to understand what it means to be a fighter. Rest, as they say is history.

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