Years from now, if the Williams sisters appear to have changed tennis at all, I am almost sure that Serena will seem to have been more central to that change than Venus. That racist, anti-racist Tony Hoagland poem from 2003 ends after “the black girl” has beaten her opponent, “then kicked her ass good / then thumped her once more for good measure,” as the speaker ambiguously mourns the end of the 20th century. I love that Serena is still out there kicking the 20th century’s ass — just incidentally, not even meaning to do it, not making a point of it, just kicking its ass over and over again.
I actually got into an argument about this last year when Serena was vivisected for “blowing up” at the US Open but everyone conveniently overlooked Mardy Fish’s behavior during his bout with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. I argued then that a lot of the negative attention directed at Serena is coded in racist and sexist beliefs, and I think this article addresses that perfectly.
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