Arriyah Champion

On August 9th, 2022, Serena Williams, 23-time Grand Slam champion, announced that she will be retiring from tennis. Since 1995, Williams has been professionally playing tennis and has been an inspiration to thousands of women and especially women of color in the world of tennis. She announced her retirement through an article she wrote in Vogue magazine about her struggles in deciding to finally leave tennis. Williams has decided to take a step back from her career and put all her efforts into expanding her family, “I don’t want to be pregnant again as an athlete. I need to be two feet into tennis or two feet out,” she wrote. Williams continued to write about her struggles in leaving the tennis courts for good. On Friday, September 2nd, Williams ended up playing in the US Open and lost in the 3rd round against Ajla Tomljanovic officially ending her career in tennis. Williams expressed, “But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. It’s extraordinary. But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.” She will continue to support her community, in her organization Serena Ventures, which invests in companies owned by underrepresented, women, black, and Latino founders.  

In the wake of Serena Williams’s retirement, Frances Tiafoe, a 24-year-old first-generation African American tennis player, became the first American man since 2006 to get to the US Open semifinals since Andy Roddick and was ranked 19th in men’s singles for tennis worldwide. The US Open is the fourth and final stop of the Grand Slam tournament. Tiafoe was originally supposed to play the Davis Cup match but dropped out once making it to the semifinals at the US Open. Tiafoe is the son of immigrants from Sierra Leone in Africa and spent most of his life on the tennis court, even living in the tennis center’s storage room. Growing up he was bullied because of the limited clothes he could afford when on the court as a kid, “But those poor, poor jokes back then really hurt. It made you feel, in the back of your mind, that you weren’t cut from the same cloth.” Tiafoe stated in an article by Jerry Bembry. Tiafoe’s coach, Misha Kuznetsov, first noticed Tiafoe when she saw that he was constantly at the tennis courts, and she saw the opportunity to have a player that could be trained around the clock.

Within the next 3 months, she was able to enter him into tournaments where he was beating players his age and older. From then on, he continues to be successful in the world of tennis and his career, making titles among other legends like Serena Williams.


Nast, C., 2022. Serena Williams’s Farewell to Tennis—In Her Own Words. [online] Vogue. Available at:

GamesXFL, &., League, N., Sports, O., BB, R., FB, R. and Games, X., 2022. Tiafoe skips Davis Cup play after US Open run. [online] Available at: Tiafoe skips Davis Cup play after US Open run 

Bembry, J., 2022. Frances Tiafoe: The story behind tennis’ unlikely hero. [online] Landscape. Available at: The Story Behind Tennis’ Unlikely Hero