Tennis superstar Serena Williams was named 2018’s GQ Woman of the Year. Learn how she inspired both on and off the court and why after all these years she’s still dominating the conversation.
2018 was a year of thrilling performances for tennis superstar Serena Williams. A glimpse back into the year suggests that Williams couldn’t have asked for a better season. Blazing the trail all through 2018, the 23 time grand slam winner seized the memorable moments of the year to remind her critics that she is still very much around and as dominant as ever
Ultimately, the tennis queen was awarded the GQ Woman of the Year Award. Highlighted below are just a few of Williams’ most memorable moments. Even if you’re not the biggest tennis fan, by the end of this article you’ll have mad respect for Williams as an athlete and a powerful female.
In 2017, the energetic tennis queen went through a harrowing postpartum experience after giving birth to her first daughter. Later, she disclosed in an interview that she almost died from the experience.
The strong and bold Williams overcame the traumatic postpartum experience and came back to the court stronger than anyone could imagine. She didn’t just come back, the Michigan born Williams showed vulnerability in sharing her postpartum experience with the world. Throughout her career, we see this willingness to speak openly about both the ups and downs as a trademark. Williams’ willingness to inspire and relate to other mothers going through postpartum challenges is just one reason why she deserves the GQ Woman of the Year Award.
Achievements on the Court
Motherhood might have been a new arena for Williams, but once she got back on the court we were reminded why the tennis court is her territory. Back on familiar grounds, it didn’t take Serena long to broadcast her comeback to her rivals, fans, and foes.
Her enviable sporting successes in 2018 include:
- Back to back Wimbledon and US Open Final appearances
- Competing in seven tournaments, beating much younger players
- An impressive win over the extremely tactical Anastasija Sevastova in the US Open Semifinal
Williams’ successes on the court proved to the world that it is possible to be a new mom and a high performing athlete.
Just like almost every other successful person, Williams has never been very lucky enough to escape the public eye and scrutiny. That is why everything about her is usually blown out of proportions, especially by her critics.
This is what happened at the final of the 2018 US Open, where Serena faced Naomi Osaka, the Japanese player who revered Williams as her idol. Osaka carried the day defeating Williams 6-2, 6-4.
Ordinarily, the win was supposed to be the major talking point especially as the 21-year-old Naomi got the better of her longtime idol. Unfortunately, the controversial moment that brought a faceoff between the Umpire Carlos Ramos and Serena overshadowed every other highlight of the game.
Ramos charged Serena with three code violations, which was not only contested by Serena but degenerated to her losing her calm and breaking her racket even before the end of the game. Just when people thought it was all over, Williams went further to challenge the charges in her post-match conference. She insisted that Ramos stole a point from her and accused the umpire of being a liar. The unusual experience brought out an entirely different Serena.
However, it brought about a critical discussion about how male and female emotions are treated differently in sports. It got the world asking, would a male athlete get the same pushback for an in-game display of emotion? John McEnroe, I’m looking your way!
Boldness On and Off the Court
Until 2018, Williams barely discussed her private life let alone get emotional about her past. However, the year was completely different as Williams, like never before, let the world know that she is after all, as vulnerable as every other person.
For the very first time in her career, the new mother related her fears, worries and pains to the world. She raised her voice against the many struggles and societal judgments she had to endure, especially in her 20s.
Indeed, the Olympic Gold Medalist had been unjustly accused of several things including being referred to as a player who doesn’t belong in the women’s sport. Williams’ most notable 2018 speech was her open letter to her mother on Reddit, a platform co-founded by her husband.
This letter and other vulnerable moments were memorable to her fans and even won her a host of new admirers. To many, Williams was just being her honest self, a virtue appreciated especially by women around the world. After all, people don’t need a flawless queen, they need an honest one who is not too proud to let them know that she has worries and issues just like them.
Finally, Her GQ Woman of the Year Award:
After being an inspiration both on and off the court, Serena topped it off by winning the coveted GQ Woman of the Year Award. It is not surprising to see her being named as the women of the year by the New York-based international monthly men’s magazine, GQ Magazine. This is in recognition of her achievements for the year both on and off the court.
Forget Controversy, Serena is the G.O.A.T
Despite the controversies, Williams earned her Woman of the Year honors. According to GQ, “No matter how you cut it, Serena Williams had a remarkable year.”
With that said, Serena has nothing to prove to anyone anymore. She has made herself an icon in the sport she passionate loves. She has made her mark on and off the court, and her records are there to speak for themselves. Most of all, in 2018, Williams evolved our definition of what a strong woman is. Yes, it’s an athlete who dominates. However, it’s also a superstar who is able to inspire mothers, a demographic often ignored by sports, through weakness and victory. Lastly, Williams showed the world that a strong woman can wear her heart on her sleeves and perhaps it is those that would criticize a female’s display of emotion that should be questioned.
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