On July 9, Serena Williams won her 22nd Grand Slam title and her seventh Wimbledon title, showing the world once again that she is one of the best tennis players to ever play the game. However, STILL, many fans of the game do not consider her to be the best female tennis player and often ridicule her for having a "muscular physique" and "aggressive personality." Serena has constantly faced critique by the media, often being compared to a "gorilla," and "man." The New York Times wrote that Williams “has large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame” and that “her rivals could try to emulate her physique, but most of them choose not to." Several players on the tour have mocked Serena's physique and have poked fun at the fact that she is more muscular than any other woman on the tour. Even with her incredible tennis record, Serena Williams is NOT the highest payed female player on the tour. In fact, Maria Sharapova has been the highest paid female tennis player for several years now, even though Maria was consistently losing to Serena and with only five Grand Slam titles under her belt. So, why does someone like Serena Williams receive so much ridicule and so much less acknowledgment for her accomplishments?
Frankly, Serena Williams is treated differently because she is different. Although tennis is a fairly diverse sport, Serena's accomplishments are often overshadowed by the fact that she is a physically strong black woman who is juxtaposed against these slim, tall, white European players. Serena almost always acts kind and graceful on the court, yet there have been moments where has she has acted not so graceful due to high emotions. When Serena has shown these few instances of poor behavior, she was heavily reprimanded. The problem is that every single tennis player on the tour has had these moments. Actually, I have first-hand seen several female players consistently act poorly on the court, yet that poor character is often overlooked. The media picks Serena Williams apart from top to bottom and finds every reason to discredit all of her success rather than focusing on the fact that she has proven time and time again that she is an incredible athlete.
Serena Williams is hands-down the best female player to ever play the game of tennis. She can beat most women on the tour even when she is not playing to the best of her ability. She is confident, she is poised, and she is incredibly talented. Serena does have a strong exterior, but her inner strength and perseverance is what truly allows her to be the athlete that she is.