We’ve known Serena Williams is the all-around G.O.A.T. for a while now, but Forbes is finally giving her the recognition she deserves. The magazine put her on its list of the world’s most powerful women for the first time today, citing her record-breaking career, 23 Grand Slam singles trophies, and $18.1 million earnings in 2017 as factors that all led to the honor. Williams is actually one of 20 newcomers on the annual list—and we think it’s about time.
After all, she’s had a whirlwind year after returning to the court following the birth of her first daughter, Olympia, and she’s emerged as a powerful voice for mothers, female athletes, and black women. She made headlines for demanding an apology after receiving a controversial series of penalties during the U.S. Open, and she’s initiated conversations about sexism, racism, and double standards in sports repeatedly throughout her career. She’s also used her platform to advocate for breast cancer awareness. On top of that long list, she’s an endlessly encouraging friend to her pal Meghan Markle.
Forbes usually bases its ranking on things like net worth, media presence, and impact within a field of interest, and it revealed that social media would play a role on the list for the first time this year. Williams deserves all of the accolades regardless of social media, but she did create a profound online presence by discussing the challenges of motherhood and inviting others to do the same. Women flooded her accounts with stories after she shared that she missed moments with her daughter while training over the summer.
In addition to Williams, Forbes also named women like Shonda Rimes, Oprah Winfrey, and Beyoncé as the world’s most powerful, and German chancellor Angela Merkel holds the number-one spot for the eighth year in a row. Notably, Williams is the only female athlete on the list. In November GQ announced that Williams had also been named its Woman of the Year, so this new Forbes distinction rounds out a pretty special 2018 for our favorite tennis champion.