A riveting chronicle of trailblazing tennis champion and cultural icon Serena Williams’s turbulent 2019 tour season and a revealing portrait of who she is, both on and off the court.
Serena Williams is an undisputed global sports celebrity. Ranked #12 on ESPN’s 2018 World Fame 100 list of popular athletes, thirty-seven-year-old Serena Williams is the only female in the top 20, and she’s one of the highest paid athletes in the world. The face of women’s tennis for the past two decades, Serena is now waging battles on multiple fronts—against age, injuries, and opponents almost twenty years her junior, all while juggling her responsibilities as a new mom.
Seeing Serena is an in-depth chronicle of Serena Williams’ return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter, and an insightful cultural analysis of the most consequential female athlete of her time. Author Gerald Marzorati shadows her through her 2019 season, from Melbourne and the Australian Open, to Roland-Garros and Wimbledon, and on to the US Open as she seeks her 24th Grand Slam singles title. He writers about her tennis and her forays into fashion, investing, and developing her personal brand on social media.
Seeing Serena illuminates Williams’s singular status as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and—in a moment when race and gender are the most talked-about topics in America and beyond—a pop icon like no other. Marzorati is on the scene, observing her matches, and talking to her, her coach, her competitors, and former greats who have witnessed her for years.
He observes her, listens to her, studies her, explores her roles in society and history—sees Serena fully, in all the ways she has come to matter.
Gerald Marzorati was the editor of The New York Times Magazine from 2003 until 2010. He previously worked as an editor at Harper’s magazine and The New Yorker. He is the author of Seeing Serena, Late to the Ball, and A Painter of Darkness, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for a first book of nonfiction. His writing about tennis has appeared in TheNew York Times and on NewYorker.com.
Publisher: Scribner (June 24, 2021)
Length: 272 pages
“What would a year spent watching every Serena Williams tennis match yield? A portrait both on and off the court of one of the greatest athletes of all time. New Yorker tennis writer Gerald Marzorati’s Seeing Serena captures Williams’ return to tennis following the birth of her daughter and her influence and presence as a cultural icon.” —Parade, “Books We Love” column
"With just enough backstory and supportive interviews, [Marzorati] effectively incorporates relevant history of Williams' previous Grand Slam tournaments while also examining her roles in challenging cultural norms and fighting for gender equality. Marzorati has an easy-to-read style and reveals the complexity of Williams' life, not just as an athlete, but also as a celebrity." —Booklist
“Readers who know more about Williams than her tennis career will learn about the game's intricacies while those already familiar with the game will benefit from subtler details.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Seeing Serena is a masterful, multifocal portrait of an icon at the height of her power. But it is more than that. It illuminates, and complicates, not only Williams, but also those who watch her.” —Louisa Thomas, author of Louisa: The Extraordinary Life of Mrs. Adams
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