Serena Williams is hailed as ‘a phenomenon, an icon, a legend’ by Nike after US Open exit
Following Serena Williams’ third-round exit at her home tournament, celebrities, fans and sponsors have paid their respects to the six-times US Open champion.
Her longtime athletic sponsor, Nike, released an empowering and uplifting video showcasing Williams’ achievements as a player and role model throughout her illustrious career.
The video begins with images of Compton before showing the famous red van in which Richard Williams would drive his daughters around in.
The video continues to flash through moments in the 23-time singles Grand Slam champion’s life on and off the court with powerful words echoing in the periphery.
‘When the world judged her home, she repped her city,’ the narration began.
‘When the world, criticized her family, she loved them out loud.
Then, the narrator stops as a video of Williams Sr. asking his young daughter Serena, ‘What’s important in your heart?’ ‘Family,’ she replies.
Serena Williams’ longtime athletic sponsor, Nike, paid tribute to her in a clip Friday night
Williams was defeated by world No. 46 Tomljanovic in a three-set thriller on Friday night
The narrator returns as the repetitive sentence structure starts to heighten Serena’s magnificence.
‘When the world wanted her to be less powerful, she hit even harder,’ it says.
‘When her body was too much for some, she made the world envy it.
Richard Williams pictured with his daughters Serena and Venus during their formative years
‘She refused to hide her flair, or what was on her mind.’
‘I want to be that role model and I’ve always embraced being a role model. But now it’s even more so,’ Williams says in a brief clip.
Legendary Australian tennis caller, Bruce McAvaney then refers to Williams as ‘a phenomenon, an icon, a legend,’ following one of her Australian Open triumphs.
The clip begins to wind down before leaving viewers feeling a sense of awe at the modern tennis matriarch’s successes.
Williams was immense during her final bow in Arthur Ashe Stadium but could not muster a win
‘She didn’t change who she was,’ it continues. ‘And that changed everything. For all of us.
‘By changing nothing, she changed everything.’
According to Williams, none of her success and the impact that came with it would have been possible without those closest to her.
‘Thank you Daddy, I know you’re watching. Thanks Mom. Oh my God,’ Williams said post-match, beginning to cry.
In an emotion-filled interview, the 40-year-old thanked her family for their support
‘I just thank everyone that’s here, that’s been on my side, so many year, decades, oh my gosh literally decades.
‘But it all started with my parents and they deserve everything so I’m really grateful for them.’
Williams then went on to mention her elder sister and inspiration, Venus, for her instrumental role in the 23-time grand slam singles champion’s career.
Williams is retiring to ‘evolve’ and extend her family with devoted husband, Alexis Ohanian
‘I wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t [for] Venus, so, thank you, Venus. She’s the only reason that Serena Williams ever existed.’
Williams’ life is certainly set to change after the three-set, 7-5, 6-7, 6-1 loss to Ajla Tomljanovic.
The tennis world will be poorer without her but perhaps her greatest gift will be those who now follow in the footsteps she so forcefully treaded.
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