The Future of Tennis: Black Women Take It By Storm


Sloane Stephens is one of several young African-American women who have excelled in the world of women’s tennis.

Trinity Goppy, Staff Writer

For all of you tennis fans out there this last year has been very exciting because the sport has seen some new faces step into the spotlight and challenge the old guard.

This change at the top of the tennis world has seen strong female players from around the world – especially Naomi Osaka of Japan (via the United States), Ashleigh Barty of Australia, and Simona Halep of Romania – topple tennis legends, including all-time great Serena Williams.

Mixed into this group of young talent are several American players, including several young African-American women. While the world of women tennis has expanded its reach over the years, the highest level of the sport has remained predominantly white. Of course, African-American women have made their presence felt over the years with players such as Ora Washington, Althea Gibson and Zina Garrison winning championships and earning high rankings. These women led the way for two of the most dominant players of the last 20 years, Venus and Serena Williams, who have won 130 career titles between them, including six Olympic titles.

According to ESPN, Serena Williams holds the most singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles for all active players regardless of gender, and Venus Williams is the only female tennis player to win three career gold medals at the Olympic Games. While the Williams sisters are still winning titles and competing at a high level they have become the influencers of a new generation that is breaking through.

The new generation of African-American women who are building off of the Williams’ sisters dominance include 15 year old Cori “Coco” Gauff, who was the youngest finalist in the US Open tournament’s history. According to ESPN, Gauff is a former world No. 1 junior, having won one junior Grand Slam singles title and another in doubles. Recently Gauff, the youngest qualifier in Wimbledon’s history, took on Venus Williams and, to everyone’s shock, beat her.

Another young lady that is making some noise is Taylor Townsend, a 23 year old tennis sensation, she was rated the top-ranked junior in the world at the age of 18, according to WTA official site. During the US Open this summer, Townsend upset Wimbledon champion Simona Halep and advanced to the 2nd round. According to the official US Open site, one of her greatest achievements was being named ITF Junior World Champion in 2012, making her the first American to do so since 1982.

Sloane Stephens, though older than both Gauff and Townsend at 26 years old, has also had some significant success in women’s tennis, including a major championship. Stephens was ranked top 20 by the Women’s Tennis Association, she still holds this title. In 2018, she achieved a career-best ranking of No. 3 in the world after Wimbledon. Stephens is breaking records that have been only been done by two of the most influential black women tennis players in America, according to the official US Open site. She became the 1st american women other than the influential Williams sisters to win a major title since Jennnifer Capriati in the Austrailian Open in 2002.

These young women have taken the women’s tennis world by storm and it looks like they are just starting. They have showed everyone that they are capable by setting incredible records and beating their own role models.