"This is you at the US Open," a father in a Compton tennis court tells his daughter.
That is how the latest Nike spot, a 60s US Open spot starring Serena Williams, begins. Its the first official ad for this year's Grand Slam tourney, the Wieden + Kennedy spot puts a deep focus on thethe relationship between Serena and her first trainer: her father Richard.
The spot: half training session, half US Open footage, has Richard's voice pushing the pace, at times echoing her next move. The elder Williams, who has been historically criticized for his approach to teaching the top woman in tennis, is seen through an encouraging lens during the film. One moment of note is the cuts between falling to an opponent’s winning volley as Richard comforts her.
“Nice try,” he says as she nods in understanding. “Make sure you’re controlling every shot.”
For those who watch US Open tennis (or any Williams sister match), Williams’ father has been painted as more of a hindrance to his daughter’s career than a help. This spot, part of a multi-channel push for the Nike-sponsored star, helps to shed new light to the man behind the Williams sisters.
Nike also released a timely post over the weekend, responding to criticism from the French Open’s chief banning the specialized black catsuit that Williams wore for 2018’s tourney due to pregnancy complications. Williams has responded to that move.
One Wieden + Kennedy creative, copywriter Jordan Dinwiddie, expressed her pride for her work on the now-viral brand tweet:
proud of this one. https://t.co/JKUiJQsxMh
— jordan renee (@JordanSaidSo) August 27, 2018
Other large billboards and building walls have been spotted across NYC leading up to the US Open, which starts in late August. Williams looked to extend her record Open Era singles grand slam win count to 24.
This mural of Serena is amazing. pic.twitter.com/fjxZOirWA0
— Laurén. (@_SerenaChelski) August 23, 2018
The recently named highest-paid woman athlete in the world (even while taking time off to give birth to daughter Olympia Jr), Williams has also appeared in an ad for Chase. In it, the new working mom takes on rapper LL Cool J's classic hit, "Mama Said Knock You Out".