If you're not rooting for a Serena Grand Slam, it's time to get on board. If Williams wins the U.S. Open this month, she will make history. Though the truth is, she's been changing the game since she started playing tennis as a toddler. She defies every stereotype of what a female tennis player should look or act like — and she kicks serious butt while doing it.
Whether she's dropping an F-bomb after a faulty serve, doing a split on the cover of New York Magazine or promoting her HSN fashion line, she does it all with heart. If you're still not convinced, here are a few more reasons to root for this badass athlete:
1. She’s killing it this year.
As of this morning, Williams' record counts 50 wins and just two losses this year (at the Rogers Cup and Madrid Open, not major events).
2. It’s been 27 years since someone has won a Grand Slam, and she could be next.
In the tennis world, the Grand Slam tournaments refer to the four most important events: the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The term “Grand Slam” refers to winning all four major championships, in a single calendar year. The last person to accomplish this remarkable feat was Steffi Graf in 1988. The only thing standing between Williams and history is a U.S. Open victory.
3. The first time Williams won the U.S. Open was in 1999 — when she was 17 years old.
That was 16 years ago and she’s still ferociously lobbing volleys across the court. Williams has been playing tennis since she was three years old. Her commitment and dedication have resulted in one of the longest-lasting tennis careers in history. When she won at Wimbledon this year, at 33 years old, she became oldest women’s tennis player to win a Grand Slam title. While most tennis stars are considered “washed up” in their 30s — Williams seems to be in her prime.
4. She’s not afraid to show her emotions.
In 2009, Williams was fined a record $82,500 following the U.S. Open tournament where she exploded on a lineswoman (cursing, pointing her finger, etc.). A similar incident happened at 2011’s U.S. Open, though she was fined just $2,000. Though her emotions have certainly gotten her into trouble, we love that she’s an expressive player who wears her heart on her sleeve. It’s clear to see her love for the game.
5. She doesn’t engage with the haters.
When Williams won her sixth Wimbledon title in July 2015, she received a ton of praise in the press. Though one Internet troll attributed her success to the idea that she is “built like a man.” Williams didn’t need to address the comment — famed Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, came to her defense and posted this humorous response:
6. She faces her setbacks straight on.
In March 2011, Williams was rushed to the hospital for complications from an earlier pulmonary embolism, a blockage in one of the pulmonary arteries which can be caused by blood clots that travel to the lungs from the legs. Like the true champ she is, she was back on the court a few months later, in June 2011.
7. Despite her 21 Grand Slam victories, she remains humble.
When Sports Illustrated asked her if she feels indestructible on the court, she responded, “No, I don’t … I feel vulnerable every time I step out there. Every single time. It’s just a matter of overcoming those feelings and being the best I can be on that day.”
Photo Credit: Getty Images