In Argentina for an exhibition event with her sister Venus, Serena Williams reflected on the legacy of their careers. The 17-time Grand Slam champion says their powerful games, flamboyant styles and skin color has clearly left its mark.
“We changed tennis,” Serena said at the press conference. “We brought passion and fashion wearing extravagant clothes. And also style, power as a new skin color as we are African-Americans. We improved tennis.”
“I think that totally changed the dynamic of the game,” she added. “I remember in particular Venus started wearing all these amazing outfits and I was so influenced by that. … I definitely think we had a huge impact on tennis in that way. As well, of course, bringing such power into tennis, and bringing a new color.”
Venus and Serena have won a combined 24 Grand Slam singles titles, as well as 13 Slam doubles titles, and both own Olympic gold medals in singles and doubles.
“Being African-American, and playing successful tennis and winning Grand Slams, that hadn’t been done in a long time,” Serena said. “I think that got so much excitement involved in tennis as well.”
Venus credited their parents for their vision. “I think that a lot of credit has to be given to my mom and my dad for changing the game that we played, really thinking about the moves we were doing to really change the game of women’s tennis,” she said.
Argentina has been the center of the tennis world during this off-season. Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic popped down to Buenos Aires for an exhibition two weeks ago and then Serena and Venus played an exhibition match there over Thanksgiving weekend.
Here’s video of the sisters having some fun with the crowd: