Two-time Grand Slam finalist Todd Martin praised Serena Williams for her incredible athleticism and unmatched competitive drive.
Martin was speaking to Sky Sports in honor of Black History Month in the United Kingdom. Now 53, Martin was once ranked as high as World No. 4 and won eight career singles titles on the ATP Tour. He earned slightly over $8 million in prize money during a 14-year career.
Even though he retired from professional tennis in 2004, shortly after Serena Williams rocketed into prominence, he stated that his compatriot merited all the praise and respect for her impressive tennis accomplishments. Serena is considered among the tennis' all-time greats.
When she announced her decision to step away from tennis last summer, she had won the second-most Grand Slam singles titles among female players with 23, in addition to a gazillion tennis landmarks and trophies. It wasn't just her wonderful skillset that separated her from the playing field, but her competitive drive that inspired confidence in her, according to Martin.
"A good bit of Serena's success came after I was no longer in the locker room but I think the level of respect is there from everywhere and her accomplishments in tennis."
"Her physical capabilities along with her athleticism, I'm hard-pressed to think of somebody who has worn her competitiveness on her sleeve as much as Serena has over the years. That combination can't help but inspire confidence in her."
Martin then acknowledged the trend-setting vision that Serena's parents had on both herself and her older sister Venus Williams. The 53-year-old compared the two darlings of women's tennis' sustained level of success as a "story made for the movies."
"Her parents had an amazing vision for developing a life that transcends what the girls were born into and seeing it all the way through and it can only be seen through with the development of remarkable ambition and focus."
"For that to sustain well into their adulthood - it's a story that has clearly been made into movies but it's a story that's made for movies."