Scott Jarosz ’21
On April 26, professional tennis player Serena Williams joined Providence College alumna and NBA broadcaster Doris Burke virtually to take part in a conversation that was broadcasted to the entire PC community. This conversation was part of a series of virtual events hosted by PCe entitled “Friartown Features.” Throughout the conversation, Williams and Burke shared many valuable insights that made this event well worth attending.
A native of Saginaw, MI, Williams began playing tennis at a young age and has not looked back since. Now 39 years old, Williams has solidified herself as one of the best tennis players of all time. Throughout her professional career, which began in 1995, Williams has won a total of 73 matches, including 23 individual grand slams.
Her 23 grand- slam victories are the most by a player in the Open Era and are the second-most of all time. In addition to her on-court performance, Williams is highly involved in social activism and charity work. Her outstanding career on the court, as well as her efforts off the court, have established her as a premier role model for people across the globe.
Given her outstanding accomplishments, Williams’ conversation with Burke was an opportunitysomething that many members of the PC community could not pass up. The conversation was designed for Burke to serve as the interviewer and Williams as the respondent. Burke asked Williams a wide variety of questions, to which Williams responded with thoughtful answers. Burke also offered her own input following Williams’ responses.
The conversation began with Burke asking Williams for her biggest piece of advice that has led her to have such an outstanding career. Williams responded, “You have to be willing to put in hours when other people are not. You have to be willing to miss out on something when other people are not.”
She continued her answer by sharing some additional insights. “I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve wanted to do other things [instead of working] and now I’m so grateful that I spent my time doing what I had to do, not necessarily what I wanted to do.” Williams’ response to this question gave the PC community an inside look into what allowed her to have such a successful career, which was inspiring to hear.
When Burke asked her about what tennis means to her and whether she strives to earn the all-time record for most grand slam victories, Williams said, “At the end of the day I don’t really care if I’m known [for] how many grand slams I’ve won, I definitely want to be known more for things I did off the court and people’s lives I was able to influence.” An admirable sentiment, this shows how passionate Williams is about making an impact on the world at large , and how she understands that there is more to life than on-court achievements such as grand slam titles.
Overall, the virtual conversation between Doris Burke and Serena Williams was an amazing experience for the PC community. Both Burke and Williams have had outstanding careers as women in sports and hearing their input on a wide variety of topics was immensely valuable.