Skip to content
Subscriber Only
Opinion
Kavitha A. Davidson

The 'Serena Bump' Gives Women's Tennis a Sellout

Advertisers may have a problem with the face of tennis, but fans don't.
Guess who won?

Guess who won?

Photographer: Hannah Peters/Getty Images

The U.S. Open kicked off Monday, with all eyes on Serena Williams as she aims for the calendar-year Grand Slam and to tie Steffi Graf with 22 major singles titles. The last week has seen thinkpiece after thinkpiece about Williams' legacy, her place among the greatest athletes ever, and her role in exposing the racism and sexism of tennis fans and the sporting press

Most recently, the intersection of prejudices Williams has had to face has been much discussed in the context of her endorsement deals. After Williams defeated Maria Sharapova in the Wimbledon semifinals in July, many commentators noted that despite utterly dominating her opponent on the court -- Williams is 18-2 lifetime against Sharapova, and hasn't lost to her on any surface in more than a decade -- Williams still trails the Russian in sponsorship dollars. According to Forbes, Sharapova earned $23 million in endorsements in the last year, while Williams banked $13 million from her deals.