Sarah Terry
December 28, 2016 2:55 pm
Pool / Getty

Serena Williams is one of the most incredible athletes we’ve ever seen. The tennis star has set numerous impressive records and won tons of championships. But Serena Williams still isn’t considered one of the greatest athletes of all time. Often, when the media talks about Serena as the greatest, they qualify it by saying she’s the greatest female athlete.

As Serena, now 35-years-old, approaches the latter years of her career, she’s started to think about her legacy. In an interview with Common on ESPN’s The Undefeated, Serena talks about her place as one of sports’ all-time greats. And she has an interesting insight that should make the world of sports take a hard look at itself.

Serena Williams insisted that if she were a man, she would already be known as one of the greats.

Clive Brunskill / Getty

Honestly, Serena is probably right, because she is definitely a rare and special athlete. And that’s a HUGE problem that female athletes are judged so differently from men. Serena has won 22 Grand Slam Championships, the most coveted of tennis honors, and 4 Gold Medals. So just on bling alone, she deserves to be listed amongst the greats.

But if you’ve ever seen her play tennis, you can see that beyond the championships, there’s something special about Serena.

Clive Brunskill / Getty

Serena has incredible power that most players can’t contend with. And she clearly has a fire when she plays that fuels her incredible performances. It will definitely be a long time before we see an athlete quite like Serena again.

But even with all this considered, Serena too often gets put into the category of “female athlete” rather than “athlete.”

Streeter Lecka / Getty

As Serena herself wrote in an open letter published in The Guardian, there are so many barriers to a woman’s success that we need to tear down.

Serena makes such a good point. We never question whether a male athlete is good “for a man.” But with women, we constantly qualify our accolades. So it’s time to change that. Just like Serena, we’d like to see athletes judged by their talents, regardless of their gender.

Because female athletes are as impressive (and sometimes MORE impressive) than male ones.

SAEED KHAN / Getty

Serena’s words inspire us, and we for sure consider her one of the greatest athletes. Period.

Advertisement