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A riveting, revealing portrait of tennis champion and global icon Serena Williams that combines biography, cultural criticism, and sports writing to offer “a deep, satisfying meditation” (The New York Times) on the most consequential athlete of her time.

There has never been an athlete like Serena Williams. She has dominated women’s tennis for two decades, changed the way the game is played, and—by inspiring Naomi Osaka, Coco Gauff, and others—changed, too, the racial makeup of the pro game. But Williams’s influence has not been confined to the tennis court. As a powerful Black woman who struggled to achieve and sustain success, she has emerged as a cultural icon, figuring in conversations about body image, working mothers, and more.

Seeing Serena chronicles Williams’s return to tennis after giving birth to her daughter—from her controversial 2018 US Open final against Naomi Osaka through a 2020 season that unfolded against a backdrop of a pandemic and protests over the killing of Black men and women by the police. Gerald Marzorati, who writes about tennis for The New Yorker, travels to Wimbledon and to Compton, California, where Serena and her sister Venus learned to play. He talks with former women’s tennis greats, sports and cultural commentators—and Serena herself. He observes Williams from courtside, on the red carpet, in fashion magazines, on social media. He sees her and writes about her prismatically—reflecting on her many, many facets.

The result is an “enlightening…keen analysis” (The Washington Post) and energetic narrative that illuminates Serena’s singular status as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time and a Black woman with a global presence like no other.

Photograph by Kathy Ryan

Gerald Marzorati is the author of Late to the Ball, a memoir about becoming a serious tennis player later in life. He writes regularly about tennis for The New Yorker. He was the editor of The New York Times Magazine from 2003 to 2010. He previously worked as an editor at the Soho News, Harper’s Magazine, and The New Yorker. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and many other publications. His first book, A Painter of Darkness, won the PEN/Martha Albrand award for a first book of nonfiction.

"Kaleo Griffith narrates with enthusiasm, reflecting the topics at hand and capturing Williams's many facets. Marzorati covers Williams from multiple vantage points—assorted matches, comments on religion, criticism from officials, her personal life, and more. Griffith gives an especially delightful scene—the moment when Williams meets the man who is now her husband, Alexis Ohanian—the slightly flirty tone it merits. This is an audiobook for those who want to learn a bit more about one of tennis's greatest players."

– AudioFile Magazine

More books from this author: Gerald Marzorati