Serena and Venus Williams unveiled new artworks ahead of Wimbledon

Media playback is not supported on this device Williams sisters win Wimbledon

Richard Spencer Williams II was known as “King Richard” and he is now immortalised on canvas with a portrait showing the power behind tennis’ first African-American queen.

After 74 consecutive years of women’s domination at Wimbledon and 36 years of Wimbledon dominance by the Williams sisters, their popularity has skyrocketed.

But now Venus and Serena have given fans new artworks to celebrate their dominance of the game at SW19 and the US Open.

Those two sisters, who have won five Wimbledon titles between them, have also announced a new branded line of tennis apparel – and vixen that was one of their own painting pieces.

About one-quarter of the 2.5-metre-high sculpture of a tennis star with him/her/them stretching out to protect the “princess” from his evil twin, is a depiction of the women’s most famous playing partners.

The piece was unveiled in New York’s Grand Central Station on Tuesday, with both sisters on hand for the event.

“I do think we’ve been quick to acknowledge their importance,” artist Maya Lin, who produced the piece, told BBC Sport.

“They’ve shown the achievements of women of colour as a real paradigm shift, and people have clung to those things much more than a century before it really came to prominence.”

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US artist Maya Lin at the unveiling of her portrait of Venus and Serena Williams

Lin described the piece as “momentous” for women of colour.

“This is a history-making, women-of-color-dominated [moment], and it goes far beyond the art world,” she said.

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Williams was presented with Lin’s portrait on Monday, two days after winning the doubles title at Wimbledon.

It was part of a package of artworks produced, signed and returned, which included an abstract painting by local artist Melvin Scheckel, and a signed tennis racquet for the American.

Lin, who is from Portland, Oregon, expressed her excitement at working with the all-time leading women’s grand slam champions.

“I feel so honoured to be included in their collection because they are such a beautiful symbol of the trailblazers, of art, of excellence and celebrity,” she said.

“They’ve been such a representation to youth, to the world, of what it means to be a black woman. It means to be beautiful and black, and they’ve made a lot of legacy.”

Lin’s piece took about half an hour to paint and she hopes the work will now encourage more people to engage with modern black history.

“We make history and we use that moment in time to reflect on our future. I hope this piece does the same. I hope people see it and hopefully they take it into the future and look at it and remember the heroes of the past.”

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