By Robert Stitt
Serena Williams is the best women’s tennis player in the world today, and has been virtually unbeatable during much of the last two decades.
At 33 years old, she is the oldest woman to win a grand slam with over 21 slam victories
The key to her longevity and victory? Certainly a great work ethic plays a part, and her conditioning is top-notch. If you ask her coaches they will tell you about her exercise regimen and diet. If you ask Williams herself, you may just get a smile, or you may get to hear about her faith in Jehovah God.
Williams does not talk about her faith much, but she is a Jehovah’s Witness and attributes her success to her faith. When she wins, she typically starts a victory interview with “I want to thank Jehovah God.”
Jehovah Witnesses do not typically support organized sports and are rarely athletes. According to the Huffington Post, the Witnesses avoid sports since they “promote nationalism, violence and celebrity — all things Witnesses are supposed to avoid.”
Williams still participates in church services and has witnessed door-to-door. She prays, and trusts that Jehovah God will give her strength to do her best.
Once, after winning the Australian Open she said, “I was down and out and he helped me today and I just said prayers, not to win, but to be strong and to be healthy and in the end, I was able to come through so I have to give the glory to him first and foremost.”
Things have not always gone well for Williams. She has faced injuries, scandals (nude pictures and skimpy clothing), murder in the family, and had a run of bad tennis playing that dropped her ranking to 175, far from the #1 seed she is used to being. While all of these were bad, the Jehovah Witness leadership actually had to intervene when she was kicked out of a tournament for allegedly threatening to kill a line judge.
After the incident, Williams said, “What bothered me most was that I was representing my religion. I just felt like anyone who knew I was a Witness was stumbled. And I really don’t want to stumble anybody.”
As for overcoming the other obstacles in her path, she points to God. “You have a strong, solid foundation, the Bible says, you won’t crack, but the man who built his house on the sand, his house went down spiritually. I have a really strong foundation. That’s how I was raised.”
In one of the few interviews Williams did where she talked about her faith, she said this, ““I am Jehovah’s Witness. If you don’t believe in God — I think if you don’t believe in God, it’s going to be tough to live life because pretty much that’s the basis of life, it comes from God. And so being a Jehovah’s Witness, obviously we believe in God and the Bible. And without Him, I wouldn’t be here right now. I really thank Him for everything.”
In a time when the news is filled with stories of Athletes committing assaults, taking PEDs, being arrested, and generally bringing shame and dishonor to their teams, isn’t it nice to hear of someone who, despite being the best in the world, desires to be a positive role model and lead a Godly life?