Roots of Fight is a brand that produces high-end apparel commemorating champions from numerous walks of life. From Joe Frazier and Jackie Robinson to Maya Angelou and Rosa Parks, celebrated icons splash across their product lines, linked by indomitable fighting spirits that made some of the greatest triumphs imaginable possible.
One of Alison Riske’s favorite shirts comes from their Muhammad Ali collection. A gift from husband Stephen Amritraj, the top is inscribed with A-L-I, and represents so much more than the WTA veteran’s nickname.
“It’s a reminder to go out there, be fierce and to just be me,” Riske tells TENNIS.com in a phone interview.
In 2019, Riske brought the best of “me” on the court, remarkably after beginning her season 1-8 in tour-level matches. Returning to her beloved grass, Riske surged to win the $100k event in Surbiton. She didn’t waver in erasing five championship points to stun Kiki Bertens for her second WTA title in Den Bosch a week later.
At Wimbledon, Riske brought even more fierceness, clinching four consecutive three-setters—the latter over world No. 1 Ashleigh Barty to reach her first major quarterfinal. Her continued uptick later included her biggest career final in Wuhan thanks to a pair of Top 10 victories.
By the time Riske posted a fourth-round showing at the 2020 Australian Open, she was inside the Top 20 and, more importantly, had put herself in pole position to make possible a childhood dream of representing the red, white and blue on the Olympic stage. That March, Riske ranked fourth among her countrywomen and led then No. 5 American Amanda Anisimova, who was due to defend French Open semifinal points before the Tokyo 2020 cutoff, by more than 500 points.