While Wear Your Voice readers may know me best for my activism of various kinds, a lesser known fact is that I have been an avid tennis player and enthusiast since my beloved grandfather taught me with a wooden racquet at the age of 7! While my competitive moments have waxed (like in high school when I’m still proud of the times I used to give intimidation tips and grunting lessons at varsity practice for my catholic school) and waned, one thing has remained the same of my spectator capacity of this sport; I have loved and appreciated the presence of Venus and Serena Williams in pro tennis for so many more reasons than I knew how to articulate in the past.
Now, I realize that a huge part of that is their complete and utter shaking up of a typically patriarchal white-centered sport, which often enforces archaic etiquette rules on womyn far more heavily than men. These play out on every level from the attempted illegalization of womyn’s grunting during matches (as the males frequently get off with or without a simple warning for something such as obscene language usage) to the style of clothes mandated right down the socially created fault line of gender binaries. Yes, it is 2015 and womyn are still having to play tennis in skirts and dresses, but the Williams sisters were the first in my personal memory to embrace their unique, colorful style and make make the tennis courts their own (as much as possible within the confine of tennis rules).
One last more obviously norm-breaking that Serena and Venus have enacted is their ability to be supportive sisters off the court and fierce competitors on the court. Not only does this feel like a beautiful and brave form of sisterhood to this only child, but it feels like its own very unique form of familial Feminism (an intersectional model the entire sisterhood of womyn could stand to reflect upon) – of womyn supporting womyn, Williams supporting Williams. Knowing that a win for one is a win for both, and truly a win for womyn worldwide – importantly at this moment in time for our Black sisters who deserve more visibilising, honoring, and role models representative of all areas of life.
The above truth is why regardless of the fact that Serena has officially beaten Venus on the court in the fourth round of Wimbledon, together the sisters have proven their score will always be LOVE ALL (yes, this is a winning tennis pun to those of you whom haven’t kept score in tennis before)!
*Above are highlights from this 2015 Wimbledon match (ignore the fact that it isn’t in English because it allows you to focus on their brilliant playing and beautiful grunting), where Serena beat her elder sister Venus in what is known as a Grand Slam match (i.e. Wimbledon, French Open, US Open…) for the first time in six years, and now advances to the Wimbledon quarter-finals.
*It’s also notable to me how honorably Venus and Serena speak of one another (as seen in their interviews above and many others) – and how much love is clearly shared between them, no sisterly bond that this or any other tennis match can take away from them. Until next time, WYV will be rooting for each of their successes both separately and together!
Are you a tennis or Williams sister fan?! If you’re tuning into Wimbledon’s impending finals, who are you rooting for? Comment below!