Serena Williams has announced she will soon retire from tennis
LEILA FADEL, HOST:
One of the most celebrated and accomplished athletes of all time, Serena Williams says she'll be retiring soon from tennis.
A MARTINEZ, HOST:
Sportico journalist Kurt Badenhausen first saw Serena and her sister Venus play in the late 1990s.
KURT BADENHAUSEN: I thought Serena and Venus were going to change the game of tennis. And they did.
MARTINEZ: Williams has won an astounding 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the second most all time. But Badenhausen says her legacy stretches beyond the tennis court.
BADENHAUSEN: Back in 1999, you still didn't have equal pay at all the Grand Slam tournaments, and even now, there's pushback on the idea.
FADEL: Serena and her sister, Venus Williams, fought to make life better for women on and off the tennis courts. The sisters thrived in a sport typically dominated by white players and inspired so many. Badenhausen says the Williams sisters also brought a new level of worldwide interest to the sport.
BADENHAUSEN: They opened up a game to a whole 'nother generation of fans and followers. Tennis had traditionally been a very lily-white sport and still is to a large degree.
MARTINEZ: Serena Williams says she'll continue to support people of color and women-owned businesses through her investing group, and between prize money and endorsements, she'll retire with record earnings.
BADENHAUSEN: We estimate she earned $450 million from prize money and sponsorships, which is 40% more than any other female athlete ever.
MARTINEZ: And although she's stepping away from tennis, Badenhausen expects Williams to continue trailblazing.
BADENHAUSEN: I think her legacy is still being told. I think it's going to be a couple more decades before we really can write the full story of Serena Williams.
FADEL: Williams tells Vogue magazine she'll leave the sport later this summer after the U.S. Open, a tournament she's won six times. After that, Williams says she wants to focus on growing her family.
(SOUNDBITE OF CAMP LO SONG, "LUCHINI AKA THIS IT")
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