Serena and Venus Williams are tennis legends but the path to greatness was paved with backlash.
In an interview with Glamour, Serena revealed people used to actually cheered when they lost a tennis match, “I remember when my sister was playing, I could tell when she would win points and when she would lose. The crowd would be really loud if she lost a point, and then there would be almost silence if she won the game or the point.
She continued, “The same applied to me. I had to make people realize that it's okay to be Black and to play tennis. And it's okay to be good at it and to be better.”
Williams also added that cheering at their loss "wasn't anything to do with me. It was just that I had to force people to see me because of my game. And let my game do the speaking. And I had to be comfortable with that.”
The 39-year-old credits her upbringing for her confidence, “My parents were so awesome and so pro-Black. They really taught us from a young age that we're gonna face different things that other people aren't gonna face. And we were okay with that because we knew that we were prepared for that. We were prepared for anything that came our way. And we continue to be prepared for that.”
Serena Williams is considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. She has earned 12 Grand Slam singles titles, she is an Olympic gold medalist and inspiration to athletes around the world.
Venus Williams has won seven Grand Slam singles titles. She is also tied for 12th on the all-time list,and 8th on the Open Era list, which is more than any other active female player except her sister.
(Photo by Gao Jing/Xinhua via Getty)