Serena Williams is one of the top female tennis players in the world and earned her first Major Singles title at the U.S Open in 1999. In recent years she has been the undisputed force in woman’s tennis and has won 21 Grand Slam singles, several Olympic gold medals and reached the finals of the mixed team events as the world’s number one in women’s singles and is currently ranked as the world’s number one by the Women’s Tennis Association.
Early playing history
Born in Saginaw, Michigan as the youngest of five daughters, while still young the family move to Compton, California. In California, Williams started playing tennis when she was only three years old, where her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus. Her official coaches was her mother and father, plus other mentors and a number of official coaches helped her to learn the game, including Richard Williams.
Williams qualified for her first professional event in 1995 at the Bell Challenge, when she was just 14 years old; where she lost in the first round to Anne Miller. While ranked number 304 in the world, she defeated the both world number 7 Mary Pierce and Monica Seles who was ranked number 4 at the time. In the recording of her first career wins she became the lowest ranked player in the Open Era to defeat two of the top ranked opponents in a single tournament, which moved her up to the 99th ranked position.
In 1998, at the Medibank International in Sydney she qualified ranked at 96th, and defeated Davenport, who ranked number 3, in the quarterfinals, but lost the semi-finals to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario. Making her debut at in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the Tennis Australian Open, she defeated Irina Spirlea ranked number 6, in the first round before she lost to her sister Venus in the second round.
Serena reached another six quarterfinals during the same year but lost them all, including her match against the world number one ranked Martina Hingis at the Lipton International Players Championships.
Rise to the top
Serena competed in the Battle of the Sexes tennis tournament at the age of 16 along with her sister Venus Williams at the 1998 Tennis Australian Open. Williams won her very first singles title in the Open Gaz de France and won her first Tier I singles title at the Event Cup by defeating Steffi Graf in the final. She had a 16-match winning-streak at the Lipton International Player Championship, the winning streak finally ended by her sister Venus. She and Venus won the French Open doubles title, Serena won a Fed Cup singles match, the JPMorgan Chase Open, and when she reached the U.S Open final, she defeated world number one Hingis, becoming African American women to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. Williams was ranked the world’s number 4, achieving it in only her second year on the main tour.
Williams was forced, due to injury, to retire from her semi-final match at the Medibank International in Sydney and also withdrew from the 2002 Tennis Australian Open, but enjoyed victory when she won her 1st title of the year in Scottsdale, Arizona. She also then won the Miami Masters for the first time and became one of three players to defeat the top 3 ranked players in one tournament.
Williams went on to reach the semi-finals in the 2003 Australian Open for the first time and played against Venus in which became the 4th successive Grand Slam tournament final where she won to become the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles at the same time.
Williams is mainly a baseline player and builds her game strategy around taking immediate control of her opponents with her consistent and powerful serve, which includes forceful ground strokes from both her backhand and forehand swings. Her aggressive play is a high risk style that made her the greatest women’s tennis history, in 2013 she had a peak speed of 128.6 mph, which is the all-time third fastest amongst female players.
Venus and Serena Williams won the doubles title; they became the 5th doubles team in the history to win all four Grand Slam titles in the women’s doubles competing in a career Grand Slam.
Serena Williams won the Miami Masters and created more history statistics by becoming one of only three players in the Open Era to defeat the top 3 ranked players in the world in one tournament including beating Marina Hingis who was ranked number 3, Venus Williams then ranked number 2 and Capriati who was ranked number one in the final. Her straight set win over her sister Venus was her second career win over Venus Williams.
For Serena it was the 2002 Wimbledon Championships where she won the title for the first time by defeating her sister Venus, without dropping a set she won the Grand Slam singles title, this triumph finally earned Williams the number one ranking in the World.
Serena Williams returned to dominate the tennis world in 2011 to 2013, in 2011 she was the defending champion at Wimbledon and reached round 16 where she lost to Marion Bartoli and her ranking dropped to 169. In 2013, she won in Brisbane, and became a six-time champion in Miami thereby breaking the record held by Steffi Graf. Williams rebounded by winning 19 out of her next 20 matches and her title claiming streak included the Bank of the West Classic, Western & Southern Opens, and the U.S Open.
Serena Williams won a record of 700 match titles in her career, she achieved 69 WTA titles and was voted the WTA Player of the Year seven times and also got voted the Female Athlete of the Year 4 times by the Associated Press.
Fun facts about Serena Williams
Serena formed the Serena Williams Foundation to build more schools in Africa to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged; in 2009, she purchased shares in the Miami Dolphins.
She and her sister lived together for more than a dozen years in Palm Beach Gardens and currently she lives in a mansion nearby Jupiter.
She is a certified Fashion Designer and has her own clothing range called Aneres, which is her name spelled backwards; and in 2007, her estimate earnings already reached $14 million for the year as reported by the Forbes Magazine.