23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams has been named to TIME magazine's list of the 100 most influential women of the past century—the "100 Women of the Year" The magazine released the "100 Women of the Year" list to honor Women's History Month, which is celebrated annually in March, and to coincide with the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage in the United States.
The magazine has selected a singular woman, women's entity or group for each year dating back to 1920. The magazine explained the reasons for choosing the 100 Women of the Year - "For 72 years, TIME named a Man of the Year.
With a few exceptions, it was almost always a man, usually a President or a Prime Minister or perhaps a titan of industry. Throughout history, these are the kinds of men who have wielded influence over the world. In 1999, Man of the Year gave way to Person of the Year.
While the name rightly changed, too often the choice was the same. With this 100 Women of the Year project, we’re spotlighting influential women who were often overshadowed." Williams, currently 38 year old and still ranked in the Top 10 in the world rankings, was included for a record-breaking 2003 season, in which she completed the career Grand Slam by first winning the Australian Open and becoming the fifth woman to ever hold all four Slam titles at the same time.
Sean Gregory wrote about Serena for the magazine, saying, "Williams was just 21 years old. If she’d peaked then, she would have earned accolades as an all-time great. But nearly two decades and 23 major titles—a record for the Open era—later, she has more clout than ever.
Her influence extends far beyond the baseline. Critics have called her racist names and tried to shame her for her muscular frame. But Williams has embraced her body, and her blackness, with the same force as one of her two-handed backhands: even her occasional outbursts at umpires spark national debates about decorum and double standards.
She’s battled injuries and life-threatening illnesses, including a complicated delivery of her daughter Olympia in 2017. Months later, however, Williams returned to the women’s tour, at 36, as the world’s most famous working mom.
She’s since reached the finals of four major events, showing that women can embrace motherhood and a job as time-consuming and physically gruelling as professional tennis. In her decades of greatness, Williams has inspired a new generation of tennis talent, young women of color who, like her, dared to take up what’s long been a lily-white sport.
Rising stars Naomi Osaka, 22, and Coco Gauff, 15, idolized Williams. Gauff grew up in Florida with her poster on her wall. Williams has not only taken women’s tennis to new heights. She has secured her legacy in the generations that will follow her."
In her decades of greatness, @serenawilliams has inspired a new generation of tennis talent, young women of color who, like her, dared to take up what’s long been a lily-white sport #womenoftheyear https://t.co/rrll48ojMs — TIME (@TIME) March 5, 2020