Serena Williams poses with the US Open Trophy on top of the Empire State Building during the 2014 US Open New York City Trophy Tour on September 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for WTA)

In a powerful open letter published in the December issue of Porter magazine, Serena Williams addressed “to all incredible women who strive for excellence.”

In the letter, she wrote about being the best tennis player in the world, not just the best female tennis player, and about how she had ambition since a very young age.

“I was fortunate to have a family that supported my dream and encouraged me to follow it,” she wrote. “I learned how important it is to fight for a dream and, most importantly, to dream big. My fight began when I was three and I haven’t taken a break since.”

— Serena Williams, Common spark rumors of rekindled romance — 

She then addressed the fact that people qualified her success with her gender, saying, “People call me one of the ‘world’s greatest female athletes.’ Do they say LeBron is one of the world’s best male athletes? Is Tiger? Federer? Why not? They are certainly not female.”

She also spoke to the obstacles she faces not only as a woman but as a black woman.

“As we know, women have to break down many barriers on the road to success,” she wrote. “One of those barriers is the way we are constantly reminded we are not men, as if it is a flaw.”

“What others marked as flaws or disadvantages about myself – my race, my gender – I embraced as fuel for my success. I never let anything or anyone define me or my potential. I controlled my future.”