Serena Williams is the G.O.A.T. of tennis. No other arguments will be accepted in this forum. At 33 years old, she currently holds every Grand Slam trophy (the oldest player to ever win a major), and she’s at the U.S. Open gunning for the calendar-year Grand Slam, which hasn’t been done since the ’80s. She’s been in professional tennis for a full 20 years, having made her debut at 14 years old in 1995.
She’s overcome many obstacles, including a goddamned pulmonary embolism and hematoma at an age (29) when many players are already considering retirement. More often, the obstacles have been less tangible — racial and sexist bias, naysaying about her desires to expand her brand years before it became commonplace. All that was in front of her when, at 11, Serena was a prodigious talent on the tennis courts of Compton, and a local reporter asked her what player she wanted to emulate.
Her answer — “I’d like other people to be like me” — was both uncommonly prescient (as she is far and away the most iconic female tennis player in the world) and completely impossible. No one will ever be like Serena, and this Gatorade ad commemorating her incredible career only reinforces that point.