Throughout her extraordinary career, Serena Williams has been influenced by numerous personalities. One of these was certainly Nelson Mandela, whom the American has often mentioned during his speeches. In 2013, Mandela was fighting for life and Serena was upset to learn about his deteriorating condition.
“I feel like Nelson Mandela, first of all, he’s lived a really amazing life. He’s just been so pivotal I think for so many people. It’s really emotional to talk about,” the former World number 1 said.
“Just meeting him, speaking to him. He’s so coherent, he’s so smart, he’s so amazing. Obviously I’m hoping he’ll recover. But reading books about him, seeing things, seeing what he went through‑‑ you know, I started to read his autobiography after I left South Africa last year.
It’s just amazing,” she added. The 23-time Grand Slam champion boycotted Indian Wells tournament for nearly 13 years in her career. “Honestly, I never never thought I would go back to Indian Wells. And then I was on this trip to Africa and I met Mandela.
What really struck me was he was in jail, you know, for the prime of his life. His family, his kids, he didn’t get to see them grow up,” she said. “And not only did he forgive the people that jailed him, but, you know he became friends with them.
He didn’t hold a grudge against them. Then I thought about it and I realized that it’s better to truly, honestly, wholly forgive by going back. I was terrified”.
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