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Serena and Venus Williams on their legacy: ‘We changed tennis’

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Venus and Serena Williams took part in an exhibition match at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. (Lalo Yasky/WireImage/Getty Images)

Venus and Serena Williams took part in an exhibition match at the Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club. (Lalo Yasky/WireImage/Getty Images)

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:

  • Published On Dec 02, 2013
  • 15 comments
    LejbaRojerRozenkranc
    LejbaRojerRozenkranc

    YEs, they brought their racism, hate and ugly power game, aggression, violent, dirty looks, screams, arrogant intervieves, etc. 

    acash626
    acash626

    Give credit where it's due. Venus & Serena did indeed change tennis. Their style and ability on the court ushered in  a new wave of popularity for the sport. Check the TV ratings and you find they increased dramatically when the Williams sisters were on the court. This is especially true when Serena was playing. 

    Vinny Cordoba
    Vinny Cordoba

    Know who else changed tennis? Suzanne Lenglen, Bill Tilden, Don Budge,  Jack Kramer, Pancho Gonzalez, Maureen Connolly, Rod Laver, Althea Gibson, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe, Chris Evert, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Bjorn Borg, Martina Navratilova, Boris Becker, Andre Agassi, Monica Seles, Steffi Graf, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

    GregoryOrzolek
    GregoryOrzolek

    Definitely changed. Question for same of us is if for better?

    zobovt
    zobovt

    They truly brought a new vibe to the game, every girl on tour now thinks fashion before stepping in court whereas it used to be anything goes. Definitely the power game has attracted a ton of people to watch prime time tennis!!

    Some people hating here I think don't want change to be associated with these girls. too bad they've changed the game for forever, indelibly in the history books #Alleeez



    attheapollo
    attheapollo

    All very true statements. Bring back the beads, the catsuit, and the black corset dress with flesh undershorts!

    abigchocoholic
    abigchocoholic

    Fashion?  Nope, that was not it.


    125mph serves and playing like the men--yup, that changed women's tennis.



    MatthewNeiger
    MatthewNeiger

    Tempted to come down on S. for what seems an egotistical statement, but I haven't seen the interview.  There's no question that it's true, but it's a bit unseemly to go there.

    pios73137
    pios73137

    I love how they party in the above video ohlalalala

    pios73137
    pios73137

    THEY DID "CHANGE" THE GAME, BOUGHT IN MORE POWER TO THE GAME, SENDING A MESSAGE TO YOUNG GIRLS OF ALL WALKS OF LIFE THAT ""STRONG IS BEAUTIFUL!!


    THEY ALSO BROUGHT IN A BIGGER & MORE DIVERSE TV AUDIENCE ...

    ArdellYoung
    ArdellYoung

    Great answer and could have added that none of your choices made fashion statements while playing tennis.

    SalvatoreMele
    SalvatoreMele

    Oh, please... As if the tennis world hadn't seen "fashionistas" on the court before. Suzanne Lenglen's fashion sense was toasted in her day; Lea Pericoli's flair was front-page news whenever she played the Big W; Ted Tinling set standards for women's tennis garb up to his death; etc etc etc.

    It's _never_ been "anything goes" for women on the tennis court.

    If the Williams sisters are responsible for anything it's legitimising hype and (especially Serena) making power more important than tactics or style. I'm not sure that what they've introduced makes women's tennis particularly watchable or enjoyable any more.

    dre
    dre

    @abigchocoholic You being stupid and dumb and irrelevant because no one care about what you say.  What you have again?  Who are you?

    pios73137
    pios73137

    @abigchocoholic we don't care about the bitter haters like you, we care about CHANGE!!!

    if you want, go back in time and wear those ugly manly outfits won by Graf, Navratilova, Sanchez Vicario, Hingis, Conchita Martinez, Seles, Sabatini...bye bye hater, no one cares about your hateful opinion, you retards only want GOOD THINGS TO BE ASSOCIATED WITH YOU, we are here to stay!!!