Serena Williams will play Naomi Osaka in the first round of the Miami Open tomorrow. It’s a tough draw. Serena is unseeded and Naomi just won her first tournament at Indian Wells, which was Serena’s first tournament back since having her baby. This is an exciting moment. Because we get to enjoy the greatest of all time and a new emerging tennis superstar sharing the same court – not just tomorrow but perhaps all season. People have been waiting for Naomi to break through for a while. This is what Serena said of her two years ago:
“I have seen her play. She's really young and really aggressive. She's a really good, talented player. Very dangerous.”
Naomi was born in Japan and raised in the US. Her mother is Japanese, her father is Haitian. Tennis is slowly becoming more diverse and Venus and Serena Williams are two of the most influential figures in the sport who have continued to challenge ideas about who tennis is for and who gets to play. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Naomi is a beneficiary of that work. She’s coming into a space that Venus and Serena made more available. We get to see them go head to head…now. But one day, we may even see Serena presenting a trophy to Naomi. As an owner.
Serena was at Dolphin Stadium yesterday for the groundbreaking ceremony to mark the Miami Open’s move there in 2019. Serena has won the Miami Open 8 times and “now has a financial stake because she owns a small share of the Dolphins”. As Stephen Ross, majority owner of the Dolphins, said during the press conference:
"She'll probably be the first person to win a tennis tournament she owns.”
That’s why she is the SH-T.
But look at her out there, among all those suits:
It’s an amazing achievement. And the hope is that at some point, there will be Serenas, right? More Serenas who are players AND owners.