By pa360, Feb 1 2015 09:22AM
"I went on the court with just a ball, a racket and a hope and that's all I had. It's inspiring for you guys that want to be the best you can be, you never give up because you never know what can happen and who you can inspire and influence."
The above comment was made by Serena Williams, who yesterday defeated Maria Sharapova, in the Australian Open final, to win her 19th grand slam singles title. The win puts Williams second in the pantheon of all time singles titles winners - just three behind Steffi Graf's open-era record of 22.
By the way, we will come back to Serena's quote later on.
I would imagine that most tennis fans are familiar with the extraordinary story of Serena Williams and her older sister Venus. They would have heard about the barriers that the sisters faced on the road to success including their upbringing in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Los Angeles and the lack of training facilities to support their career development. They would also be aware that the sisters were coached almost exclusively by their father Richard, who had an unshakeable belief that his daughters were destined for greatness.
The rest as they say is history, because today Serena and Venus have amassed 26 grand slam single titles between them. Countless other titles including Olympic gold medals have been won along the way. Much as this is an inspiring and heart-warming story of triumph over adversity, I must confess that there are no surprises here. Vision, ambition, dedication and commitment are not only key ingredients of the William's story, they are also key ingredients of success.
Now back to Serena's quote.
I understand that Serena Williams is estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million. Ms Williams could retire now, having achieved more that she could have ever dreamed of and safe in the knowledge that her place in history is secure. However, in her post match-winning quote, Serena pointed to what will surely be her true legacy, which is the countless others who will be inspired by her example. Some like Serena, will go on to become grand slam winners and others may not. But even for those that do not, like Serena herself, they may still achieve more than they ever expected.
Sometimes all that is required to get us on the ladder of success is 'a ball, a racket and a hope'.