Tennis
Venus Williams Image Credit: Tennis
Venus Williams Image Credit: Tennis

A 39-Year-Old Venus Williams Still Commands Respect

At 39, Venus Williams still commands the same type of respect, on and off the court, that she has throughout her exemplary career

Matt Fitzgerald

The stage is now hers to take. Except today, in place of a bursting Centre Court full of cheers and claps, is a room of about 15 serious, steady faces. Most of these formidable figures are unlike her on the outside: they are white, they are older, and they are male.

She paints the only mutual canvas they know, instructing each person to close their eyes and imagine being nine again. She tells them a tale: a little girl dreams of playing in the Wimbledon ladies’ final. She makes this pursuit her only priority, but one day discovers her persistent work to become a Grand Slam champion is not valued equally to the boys training on the next court over.

She ponders this message being sent to every girl chasing their ambitions, in tennis and all walks of life, and why those in today’s room agree with that imbalanced notion.

A profound connection is made. Finished visualizing, reality promptly stands tall in front. Venus Williams has preached her wisdom and shared her story, but now must focus over the next 24 hours to make her desire of winning a third Wimbledon singles title come true. The usually immovable members are touched. As the quiet leader exits, the impact she leaves behind is deafening.

For more than 20 years, Williams has been, and remains, a fundamental fixture in the WTA, with her racquet and point of view. She’s not the most outspoken player; she keeps to herself; she is “protective,” according to younger sister


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