When Serena Williams walks away from tennis, it won’t simply mark the retirement of an athlete with more Grand Slam singles titles than any player in the sport’s modern era. It will mark something far more profound: the retirement of an athlete who has transformed the game in myriad ways.
The revolution Williams wrought started with the unparalleled power she brought to the women’s game and the competitive ferocity that forced other women to find their own — if they wanted to have a chance against her.
Now 40, she has reset earnings expectations for top female athletes, as well, with her record $94 million in career winnings on the court.
Along the way she has redefined resilience, competing for a quarter-century in the face of criticism, through grief, while pregnant and after childbirth — battling with the same fire whether ranked No. 1 in the world or having tumbled well outside the top 100.
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