Nike President Heaps Huge Praise on Serena Williams for Making Them ‘Better’

Published 10/02/2021, 1:27 AM EDT
Serena Williams of the United States celebrates defeating Catherine McNally of the United States during their Women’s Singles second round match on day three of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 28, 2019 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)


By being fearless yet graceful, tennis queen Serena Williams has inspired and changed the sport and the sports fans for good. Besides, she has also helped brands that represent professional athletes improve in a better and broader way. For instance, the footwear giant Nike sponsors the American professional, and recently, their President and CEO John Donahoe explained the Serena impact on their company.

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During the American culture-focused media event L’Attitude, Donahoe opened up on their collaboration with Serena. More than that, he shared how the 23-time Grand Slam champion changed their recruiting and training designers’ process.

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How Serena Williams has changed Nike

Firstly, the CEO of Nike opened up on a request they received from Serena Williams. He stated that she wanted more footwear and apparel designers representing her cultural background. And Nike took this as a challenge.

Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – May 31, 2021 General view of Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her first round match against Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

Soon after, the athletic footwear company established a Serena Williams Design Crew, a team of ten designers from around the world. Interestingly, Donahoe also shared a story about Juan Huerta, a graphic designer in this newly formed crew.

He said that Huerta worked in a Nike retail store for five years but wanted to be a designer, and out of 100 applicants, he got in and realized his dream. “And earlier this summer, that design crew launched the first Serena Williams collection,” Donahoe said.

“It’s a wonderful example of how one of our elite athletes have made us better, challenged us in a completely appropriate way, and by listening to the athlete, it’s made us rethink how we recruit and apprentice and train designers,” he added.

Watch this story: A Look Inside Serena Williams Lavish Million Dollar Mansions Around the World

What’s next for Serena ?

Presently, the 40-year-old American professional is recovering from a knee injury she picked up in Wimbledon. As a result, she hasn’t played tennis since retiring from that tournament.

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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – June 29, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. leaves court as she retires from her first round match against Belarus’ Aliaksandra Sasnovich after sustaining an injury REUTERS/Peter Nicholls

However, Serena is hopeful for a complete recovery, and subsequently, return to the WTA Tour. More importantly, she is still chasing her record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title.

For now, she is not playing at the upcoming WTA 1000 Indian Wells Open 2021. But Serena would most probably come back before the Australian Open 2022.

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Hopefully, her passion will keep driving the tennis and outside world for many more years to come. Do you think she will add #24 during the course of her illustrious career?

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Purav Joshi

1230 articles

Purav Joshi is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 500 tennis articles.

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