"When she's down — it's amazing — it's like this light goes on, you can just see it in her face, you can see it in her walk, you can see it in her posture: I'm not losing this match."
That woman, as explained by Billie Jean King in a Sports Illustrated video honoring the 2015 Sportsperson of the Year, is, of course, Serena Williams.
On Tuesday night, Williams accepted Sports Illustrated's 2015 Sportsperson of the Year award, giving an award-worthy speech to go along with it.
"When I first learned that I would be sportsperson — yes, sportsperson — of the year, I could not believe it," Williams, one of the few women who have accepted this particular award over the years, says from a podium facing the crowd. "So for all the ladies out there, yes, we can do it."
Williams, a perfect candidate, overcame many obstacles to get to where she is today. As an African American woman and as an athlete, celebrity, businessperson and designer, she "has a set of challenges and a set of pressures that follow her around that are completely unique — certainly in tennis — I would even make the case in all of sport," Jon Wertheim, SI's executive editor, explains.
Moreover, in her acceptance speech, Williams says that when she first started playing tennis, she, like many women at the time, was not encouraged to excel.
But excel she did.
Now, she hopes that her win "can inspire many many many more women — in less than 30 years, of course — to stand right here on this podium and accept another sportsperson of the year [award]. So, yes, ladies, it can be done," Williams says.
The remainder of her speech, composed of personal stories and enhanced with humor, is an inspirational one.
"I have to tell each and every one of you that it doesn't matter how old you are, how young you are, your age, you can achieve anything that you set your mind to," she says.
Because with hard work, dedication, discipline, "and most importantly, self-belief," we can achieve anything.
Speaking from experience, Williams reminds us, "Some people might not believe in you. But you have to believe in you."
Be sure to watch the full video below: