PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Serena Williams' influence can be seen on and off the tennis court. Young tennis players tell CBS3 that news of her retirement came sooner than they expected.
Tennis requires power, precision and, to get to the top, perseverance - all things Williams embodies with a career that captivated people of all ages.
"Sometimes I know that I'm gonna give up but I think about her and all the times she won and then I actually do win," Anjani Gurthy, a young tennis player, said.
Tuesday, the grand slam title-winning athlete was the hot topic at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education in East Falls.
She announced she was evolving away from tennis and intends to retire after the U.S. Open.
"It's crazy, it really made me reflect on the career that she's had," Sanjin Kunovac from Legacy Youth Tennis and Education said. "She started playing pro at 1995. So the fact that she's had this career span of one of the greatest female, greatest athletes of all kind, so it's bittersweet."
Serena's career highlights include 23 grand slam titles and countless other wins. But her legacy goes beyond her backhand into how she handled racism, sexism, and even starting a family as an athlete.
"She's been able to juggle it for a long time and I'm sure she'll be playing someway somehow. You never give it up completely. You don't," Kunovac said.
For players with big dreams and strong serves, Serena's news was surreal.
"It's shocking because I thought she would play for a really long time," a young tennis player said. "She broke barriers for women of color in the game and showed, no matter who you are or where you come from, you can do whatever you want."
These players prove that her legacy doesn't end here.
"She inspired me to become a better tennis player and not to give up," another young tennis player said.
Williams is expected to play at the U.S. Open at the end of August. Players at Legacy Youth Tennis and Education say they will be watching.
for more features.