Serena Williams recently set the internet ablaze after gracing the cover of New York Magazine embodying nothing short of style, power, beauty and grace. Not only did the statuesque phenome serve us nothing short of #BlackGirlMagic, she also kept it brutally honest, dishing overcoming her unique experiences as a black woman in the world of tennis while also discussing her goal to impact the world of fashion. Whether you’ll be glued to the television to see Williams make history should she win the U.S. Open next month, which would make four grand slams in a calendar year, here are 3 reasons why every black woman should be excited about Williams’ achievements both on and off the court.

  1. Unapologetically reinforces positive black body image

Like many black women, Williams is not immune to criticism regarding her physique, which obviously differs from her majority petite-framed white female tennis opponents

After a recent New York Times article (July 10) described the world-renowned tennis star’s body with having “large biceps and a mold-breaking muscular frame,” accompanied with comparisons to a man’s muscular body, social media took flight in her defense to condemn the publication, setting a precedent that no longer will black women, or any women for that matter remain silent in the face of black-body shaming.

  1. Nothing short of a conqueror

Serena has overcome insurmountable odds to achieve such awe-accomplishing achievements. And her recent performance on the court makes it hard to believe the pro athlete spent 12 months fighting for her life after being diagnosed with pulmonary embolism— a blockage in an artery of her lung in 2011. Despite her health struggle that almost ended her tennis career, it was her sheer discipline and relentless mental strength that would catapult one of the greatest comebacks in sports history.

  1. Living Legend

Whether you’re a tennis fan or not, the name Serena Williams is arguably one of the most recognizable names and faces in the world, solidifying her as nothing short of an icon. At 33—traditionally a retirement age in the realm of tennis, Williams is undoubtedly on the brink of fortifying herself as one of—if not the best, most dominant athlete of her generation, regardless of gender. Her slew of accomplishments include, but are not limited to winning a title in all four Grand Slam tournaments, 56 singles championships, 22 doubles championships, as well as taking home the three gold-medals at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

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