From the time of TV to social media, the horizon of what we call a ‘role model’ has expanded dramatically. The Gen Z generation has grown up with role models from all fields, from sports to cinema, obviously barring academics, because that wasn’t ‘cool’. So, did it backfire? Well, there have been plenty of times, when the supposed role models have fallen from grace and still have been followed mindlessly. Tennis player Serena Williams falls in the same category.
Homo sapiens very easily pick one amongst them on the basis of talent and ability, place them on a high pedestal and start worshipping them as a ‘role model’. Serena Williams is one such sportsperson, who enjoys a wide fan base across the world.
And when one is on such a pedestal, their lifestyle, decisions and representation influence a large section of the society. While many stars carry their stardom gracefully, many let down their fans. And the way American Tennis player Serena Williams has announced her retirement, she seems to be falling in the latter category.
Serena Williams – A Tennis Legend
The American Tennis Player Serena Williams, who on Tuesday announced her retirement from the game had a marvellous career, a sports career worth writing about. Serena Williams is the face of Women’s Tennis, a player who has inspired thousands of girls to pick up the racket. Williams has 23 Grand Slam titles on her name.
She made her professional debut in 1990 at the age of 17 and has become the player who has won most Grand Slam singles championships, during the open era. Williams has won 11 Wimbledon Championships, more than any other female player, including six consecutive titles from 2001 to 2006.
Serena Williams is simply not a role model
While Serena has innumerable titles and trophies on her name, she has controversies attached to her name too. From match-fixing to exercising the sexism card every now and then, controversies had become a routine for Williams. Serena has even accused the umpire of sexism. Once, Serena argued with the chair umpire officiating her quarter-final match of the US Open in 2004 and garnered a lot of criticism for the same.
Serena could not take her loss of points in the US Open semi-final 2009, too well either and the match ended with a punishment of a one-point penalty, a fine and a two-year probation. Williams smashing her racket in the match against Naomi Osaka also gathered flak.
While Serena has been a wonderful player, the question has always been, is she a role model? Well, the simple answer would be No, but let’s get to the nitty and gritty of her retirement announcement to substantiate it.
While talking about her retirement in the Vogue magazine, Williams said that she is retiring as she chose to expand her family, as her five year old daughter, Olympia wants to be a big sister.
Serena writes, “Believe me, I never wanted to have to choose between tennis and a family. I don’t think it’s fair. If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.” Well, no woman should have to choose between family and career, balancing both might be a tough job, but women are pulling it off.
On the other side, Williams has not won a single Grand Slam title since 2017, and no one never really has to give up, maybe expand your family, train yourself and get back stronger. So Dear Serena Williams, retirement is not a gender-issue. Reducing yourself to a victim, is mocking the cause you claim to be fighting for.
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