Serena Williams Sets Records Before She Even Steps Onto The Court

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Serena Williams is such a tennis legend, she breaks records even before she steps onto the court. For the first time in history, tickets for the women’s singles finals at the U.S. Open sold out faster than tickets for the men’s finals, and fan excitement over Williams is the reason.

The U.S. Open, which starts Monday and runs through Sunday, September 13 — the women’s final is on September 12 — is the last stop on a historic journey. Williams, 33, has won 21 Grand Slam titles, the third most in women’s tennis history. And she is on track to win four Grand Slam tournaments in one season, something that no woman or man has done since Steffi Graf in 1988, so there’s good reason for the public frenzy.

Williams is having a well-deserved moment of fame and recognition for being such a dominant force in the game. Sports Illustrated has called her 16-year run “one of the most sustained careers of excellence in the history of athletics.” And when she’s not playing tennis, she’s picking up endorsement deals, designing clothing lines, and hanging out with Drake.

Despite near-constant scrutiny from critics that has often taken a sexist or racist tone, Williams is playing at the top of her game, and she’s not about to get psyched out now. Last year, she called out a Russian tennis official for calling her and her sister Venus the “Williams brothers.” And in 2001, when she was only 19, the crowd at a match in Indian Wells, CA, shouted racist slurs at her and booed as she played in the final. She didn’t go back to the tournament for 13 years.

But now she has her laser focused on winning. “I don’t have time to be brought down. I’ve got too many things to do,” she said on Good Morning America on Monday. “I have Grand Slams to win, I have people to inspire, and that's what I’m here for.”

Not only have men’s matches sold out faster than women’s matches until this year, there’s been a huge difference in price, too. This year, women’s tickets are being sold for only $38 less than those for the men; the last time there was close to this much demand for seats to the women’s tournament, the difference was $150.
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