grand slam send off

Bhakti Issa Urra
2 min readSep 4, 2022

Serena Williams has likely played her final match. After a thrilling run through the early rounds of the U.S. Open, she lost last night to Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia.

Williams’s poise, strength, style and array of hairstyles have inspired Black girls and women to see themselves in the game of life she has dominated.

Time Magazine cover story

At the end of August, Billie Jean King wrote: What Makes Serena Williams So Watchable.

“In her article for Vogue where Serena announced her retirement — which she calls ‘evolving’ — there’s this line that stuck with me. She said, ‘I’ve built a career on channeling anger and negativity and turning it into something good.’ She’s absolutely right.”

wisdom from an icon

Williams’ presence as a Black woman in a historically white, patriarchal sport, her commitment to activism, and her willingness to bare her personal challenges to the public — forced sports journalists to reevaluate professional norms that urged them to focus on what else happened between the lines.

Sports does not happen in a vacuum. Williams demanded journalists do more than analyze her serve. She has spoken publicly from her own experiences.

Serena leaves the court after her third-round loss
at the U.S. Open. Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

She has pushed the boundaries of women’s tennis, and in doing so, has insisted that women be treated better by media and event organizers, calling for an end to the pay disparities between men and women on professional tours.

She has done so much in our re-education and humanization — brava, Serena!

Serena serves in her quarterfinal match during the
2019 Australian Open.
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Originally published at



Bhakti Issa Urra

canvassing consciousness, constantly curious — ever challenged & changed