Over a career that spans more than 20 years, Serena Williams has become the greatest tennis player of all time while battling a variety of other opponents on and off the court. And this weekend, in an interview with Common, she was as personal as many have ever seen from her.
On Sunday night, ESPN ran an hour-long segment where the the Oscar and Grammy-winning lyricist interviewed the legendary athlete. “The Undefeated In-Depth: Serena With Common” covered Williams’ adversity as a tennis player, the criticism she has received about her body image and her competitiveness, race, and whether she sees herself as the greatest athlete of all time.
ESPN does have pundits like Bomani Jones, Jemele Hill and Michael Smith who have thoughtful things to say about race and culture, but The Undefeated presented an insightful, intimate conversation that dug into worthwhile topics without limiting them to soundbites and hot takes. As an interviewer, Common gave his subject the respect and attention she deserved, and Williams returned the sentiment with honest, detailed responses. The segment had a congratulatory tone – but with the amount of backlash Williams has received compared to her credit, kudos were long overdue.