Serena Williams ‘paved the way’ for mothers to keep playing tennis, says Martina Navratilova
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Serena Williams, the most successful woman in the history of women’s tennis, laid the groundwork for an entire generation of female players by making tennis so accessible.
And now, Martina Navratilova, one of Williams’ peers when they were teenagers, is offering her own advice to the next generation of women’s tennis players.
“Serena paved the way for a lot of women,” Navratilova told the Salt Lake Tribune. “Women could pursue a sport like tennis, in the same way Serena did. But it has to be more than just Serena.
“It can happen by any one person. And I’m happy to see that because now there are a lot of women who are getting better. And I’m happy for them. I know there are a lot of other women who will follow.”
Williams, who is now 33 and a two-time runner-up at the U.S. Open, began playing tennis at the age of 5. Navratilova was 10 when she began playing. The two have been friends for more than 40 years, and have been playing tennis together for 21 of those years.
Navratilova, who is the only woman to take part in the first Grand Slam tournament in the United States when she was 18, said she remembers playing with Williams before she turned pro.
“I remember playing with Serena for the first time on a playground,” Navratilova said. “It was in Queens. We started playing when I was 9 and she was 10. And I remember walking on the court with Serena and her parents. It was a pretty quiet day.
“When we were