Tennis star Serena Williams continues to inspire fans and gives critics something to discuss year after year.
This time around, thanks to BBC Sport, Serena Williams is inspiring others with an impressive montage accompanied by an inspirational poem. In the now-viral video, Serena recites the lyrics from the popular poem originally written by the late Maya Angelou, “Still I Rise.”
When reviewing the well-known poem, many people are more than likely familiar with the first verse — especially since it has been referenced in a number of different television episodes, movies, and books over the years.
“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise”
However, the rest of the poem’s lyrics seem to take on a different meaning when they are applied to the ups and downs of Serena Williams’ career and emotional journey over the years. As seen in the various clips that are synced with the audio footage of the poem, even skeptical critics would likely agree that “Still I Rise” seems to be a perfect fit.
Chances are that there are not very many other poems that would flow as beautifully with the turbulent, yet empowering road to success that Serena has traveled in her tennis career since childhood.
“Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.”
In addition to her undeniable talent, Serena Williams has also been known over the years for her arrogance. Many critics have targeted the award-winning tennis star with claims of cockiness and being a sore loser.
A bit weird seeing @serenawilliams lose. But, every once in a while, we need to lose, to remember where we came from and stop being cocky!
— afctee (@afctee) January 31, 2016
I bet Serena Williams was heading into the game so cocky that that is the reason why she lost. #TennisUpset
— Jerry Cupat (@JerryCupat) September 11, 2015
Serena Williams is very arrogant imo
— James Macarthur (@Jamesbomie) July 9, 2016
— Yukio Strachan (@boldandworthy) July 9, 2016
Within a list of “The 50 Cockiest Athletes of All Time” published by Complex in June of 2012, Serena Williams was named as the No. 26 athlete. The article stated that Serena Williams “has done her part to bring a bit of excitement and controversy.” While crediting Serena as being one of the best tennis players world-wide for years, the article also noted that “she lets the fans, media and even the line judges know about it.”
“Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?”
Many of the most passionate athletes over the years have never hesitated to express their emotions on the court — especially after a major win or loss. For example, think about how LeBron James reacted moments after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship last month. As seen in the footage, Serena has definitely had her share of emotional episodes on the tennis court throughout her career — many of which generated headlines of their own.
The rest of “Still I Rise” focuses on a number of different factors that can easily be connected to Serena Williams in one way or another — including haughtiness, slander, negative criticism, and comments about her appearance.
Whether you love or hate Serena Williams at the end of the day is based on your own opinion. However, the facts don’t lie. When you look at Serena Williams’ career, awards, accolades, victories and the list of impressive opponents that she faced head-to-head and defeated, you will more than likely feel compelled to give credit where credit is due.
[Image: Jimmie48 Photography/Shutterstock.com]