See how Serena Williams became one of the all-time greats after winning the 1997 U.S. Open Final.
A few hours after we got word that Williams had achieved the first Grand Slam singles title in a decade and would be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame on Tuesday morning, I pulled up the YouTube links on my phone to watch the three-time grand slam champ give her post-match press conference.
I have no memories of Williams ever winning a major, of course, because it had never been done before. In 1997, as we’ll see, she did it all – and then some.
What made her win so stunning and unforgettable? It was her answer to a question that only she could answer with certainty: “Yes, there were a lot of things that I had to overcome.”
Williams was in complete control of her emotions during her final-round interview with The Associated Press, just before she was honored on a stage. It was as if no one in the world could have guessed that, over the next 24 hours, she’d take her place alongside such towering stars as Björn Borg, Arthur Ashe and Helen Wills.
It was a moment I will never forget because it was so unexpected – Williams had never won a Grand Slam singles title at the time.
That was nearly 17 years ago. In 2016, she reached her all-time career-high ranking of No. 2 in the world, with victories in Dubai and New York. But only a handful of people – and one woman in particular – could have imagined that, in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, Williams would be inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.
This is what she had to say to ABC.
Why is this important now? I will still be playing tennis but I will not be able to go out, have any parties, have any friends and family and all of the rest of it. But I will be able to talk to my friends and family and play tennis and still have a lot of fun. And so I don’t want to miss that. I’m very appreciative and happy that I was able to still be able to play and that I’