Serena Williams

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Serena Williams

Country: United States
Residence: Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA
Height: 5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Weight: 145 lb (66 kg)
Plays: Right
Turned pro: September 1995
Highest singles ranking: 1 (July 8, 2002)
Singles titles: 26
Prize Money: $15,756,765
Grand Slam Record
Titles: 7
Australian Open W (2003, '05)
French Open W (2002)
Wimbledon W (2002, '03)
U.S. Open W (1999, '02)
Tennis Women's doubles

Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional women's tennis player, who is a former World No. 1 of the Women's Tennis Association (WTA). She is the younger sister of another female tennis champion, Venus Williams. She currently resides in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, United States.


Early life

Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan. When she and her four sisters were young, their parents, Richard and Oracene (also called Brandy), took them to the poor and sometimes violent Los Angeles suburb of Compton. Her father dreamed of making at least one of his daughters a tennis superstar, hoping that involvement in sports would give them a way out of that neighborhood.

When Serena was four and a half, she won her first tournament, and she entered 49 tournaments before the age of 10, winning 46 of them. At one point, she replaced sister Venus as the number one ranked tennis player aged 12 or under in California.


In 1991, Richard Williams, saying that he hoped to prevent his daughters from facing racism, stopped sending them to national junior tennis tournaments, and Serena attended a tennis school run by professional player Rick Macci instead. Macci had already helped the careers of Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce, among others. Soon Richard, who had struck a deal on behalf of his daughters with a major clothing company, was able to move the rest of the Williams family to West Palm Beach, to be near Serena and Venus.

Serena became a professional in September 1995 at the age of 14. Because of her age, she had to participate in non-WTA events at first. Her first professional event was the Bell Challenge in Quebec, and she was ousted in less than an hour of play.

By 1997, ranked number 304 in the world, she upset both Monica Seles and Mary Pierce at the Ameritech Open in Chicago, Illinois, recording her first career wins over top 10 players. She finished 1997 in the top 100 at no. 99.


1998 was the first year when she finished in the WTA top 20. She began the season in Sydney as a qualifier, ranked no. 96, and she beat world no. 3 Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinal. Serena, with her top 20 ranking, was then expected to do well in her first Grand Slam tournament, but she lost in the second round of the Australian Open to sister Venus.

Serena reached six other quarterfinals during the season. She won the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon and US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family's sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slams. Sister Venus also won the mixed doubles at the Australian and Roland Garros opens with Justin Gimelstob. She won her first pro title in doubles at Oklahoma City with sister Venus becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour women's doubles title. She earned 2.6 million dollars in the season.


In 1999, Serena was ranked number 21, and she and sister Venus had become celebrities. She defeated Amélie Mauresmo in a final the same day that Venus won in Oklahoma City, marking first time in professional tennis history that two sisters had won titles in the same week.

Ranked number 21, she defeated 3 top 10 players: world no. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the second round, world no. 8 Mary Pierce in the quarterfinal, and world no. 7 Steffi Graf in the final at Indian Wells.

Serena has been the focus of many ad campaigns, including one with shoe and clothes maker PUMA, which signed her to a $12 million agreement.

On September 11, 1999, Serena won her first Grand Slam tournament when she became US Open champion, becoming the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam tournament since Althea Gibson in 1958. The next day, she and sister Venus won the doubles championship at the same tournament. She finished 1999 ranked no. 4 in just her third full season.


In 2000, she won the doubles gold medal at the Olympics with sister Venus. 2001 was the third consecutive year in which she finished in the top 10 reaching her first Grand Slam singles final in two years. In 2002, she won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open.


She won the Australian Open in 2003, her fourth straight Grand Slam singles title, becoming only the ninth woman ever to win all four Grand Slam events. Her accomplishment was dubbed the Serena Slam.

For the first time since January 2002, the Grand Slam final did not read Williams-Williams at the French Open in June 2003. Venus lost to Vera Zvonareva in the fourth round of the French Open. Among boos and catcalls, Serena lost to Justine Henin-Hardenne of Belgium in an acrimonious and controversial semi-final match. Henin-Hardenne backed away from her position, just as Serena was about to serve at a critical point in the match. Serena missed the serve, and asked for a repeat, which was not granted. After a futile exchange with the umpire which turned the crowd against her, Serena won the point and game, but went on to lose the match.

At Wimbledon in 2003, Serena Williams became back-to-back champion, exacting revenge on Henin-Hardenne in straight set in the semifinals and her sister Venus in the finals by a score of 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

Serena beat her sister Venus to win the Australian Open in 2003. This was only the sixth time a woman has held all four of tennis' major championships within 12 months. This accomplishment was also remarkable in that Serena had to beat her sister each time. The Williams siblings are the first two women in Grand Slam history to square off in five consecutive finals.

Williams' older sister, Yetunde Price, was murdered on the morning of September 14, 2003, by gunshots as she passed by in a car driven by a man in the Compton area.


Serena withdrew from Australian Open 2004 to continue rehabilitating her left knee. She reached the final of Wimbledon once again, but lost to the 17-year-old Russian player Maria Sharapova. On July 30, Serena withdrew from her quarterfinal match against Russia's Vera Zvonareva with a left knee injury. On August 1, she announced her withdrawal from the Rogers Cup due to the same injury. The injury also forced her to pull out of the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Controversy has arisen over Williams's level of dedication to the sport. Some believe that she is far too concerned with her fashion and acting careers and has not focused enough recently on her tennis. Disappointing performances during 2004 have been cited as proof of this lack of focus. However, in 2005, she won her seventh Grand Slam event, winning the Australian Open. She defeated the three of the tournament's top 4 seeds, #2 Amelie Mauresmo, #4 Maria Sharapova and #1 Lindsay Davenport, en route to the title.

In April 2005, MTV announced plans to broadcast a reality show around the lives of Serena and Venus Williams. Williams was also on Punk'd when she was trying to save a Punk'd problem kid played by Rob Pinkston until Ashton Kutcher exposed the set-up from the SUV.

Her participation in Wimbledon 2005 ended in the third round when she was beaten by fellow American Jill Craybas (ranked 85th in the world) 6-3, 7-6(4). Serena broke down in tears in the subsequent press conference. She had come into the tournament with an stress fracture in her ankle, a severe lack of conditioning, and had not played a competitive match for six weeks, missing the French Open.

As Serena slumped in the tournament, Venus progressed, defeating top-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Wimbledon final. Venus admitted later that she emulated Serena's never-say-die spirit, and this attitude led her Wimbledon victory.

In 2005, TENNIS Magazine put her in 17th place in its list of 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.

Titles (37)

Legend (Singles)
Grand Slam (7)
WTA Championships (1)
Tier I Event (7)
WTA Tour (11)

Singles (26)

No. Date Tournament Opponent in the final Score
1. Feb 22, 1999 Paris, France Amelie Mauresmo (France) 2-6 6-3 7-6
2. Mar 1, 1999 Indian Wells, USA Steffi Graf (Germany) 6-3 3-6 7-5
3. Aug 9, 1999 Los Angeles, USA Julie Halard-Decugis (France) 6-1 6-4
4. Aug 30, 1999 U.S. Open, New York, USA Martina Hingis (Switzerland) 6-3 7-6
5. Sep 27, 1999 Grand Slam Cup, Munich, Germany Venus Williams (USA) 6-1 3-6 6-3
6. Feb 14, 2000 Hanover, Germany Denisa Chladkova (Czech Republic) 6-1 6-1
7. Aug 7, 2000 Los Angeles, USA Lindsay Davenport (USA) 4-6 6-4 7-6
8. Oct 2, 2000 Tokyo, Japan Julie Halard-Decugis (France) 7-5 6-1
9. Mar 1, 2001 Indian Wells, USA Kim Clijsters (Belgium) 4-6 6-4 6-2
10. Aug 13, 2001 Toronto, Canada Jennifer Capriati (USA) 6-1 6-7 6-3
11. Oct 29, 2001 Sanex Championships, Munich, Germany Lindsay Davenport (USA) W/O
12. Feb 25, 2002 Scottsdale, USA Jennifer Capriati (USA) 6-2 4-6 6-4
13. Mar 18, 2002 Miami, USA Jennifer Capriati (USA) 7-5 7-6
14. May 13, 2002 Rome Justine Henin-Hardenne (Belgium) 7-6 6-4
15. May 27, 2002 French Open, Paris, France Venus Williams (USA) 7-5 6-3
16. Jun 24, 2002 Wimbledon, London, Britain Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 6-3
17. Aug 26, 2002 U.S. Open, New York, USA Venus Williams (United States) 6-4 6-3
18. Sep 16, 2002 Tokyo, Japan Kim Clijsters (Belgium) 2-6 6-3 6-3
19. Sep 9, 2002 Leipzig, Germany Anastasia Myskina (Russia) 6-3 6-2
20. Jan 13, 2003 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Venus Williams (USA) 7-6 3-6 6-4
21. Feb 3, 2003 Paris, France Amélie Mauresmo (France) 6-3 6-2
22. Mar 17, 2003 Miami, USA Jennifer Capriati (USA) 4-6 6-4 6-1
23. Jun 23, 2003 Wimbledon Venus Williams (United States) 4-6 6-4 6-2
24. Mar 22, 2004 Miami, USA Elena Dementieva (Russia) 6-1 6-1
25. Sep 20, 2004 Beijing, China Svetlana Kuznetsova (Russia) 4-6 7-5 6-4
26. Jan 17, 2005 Australian Open, Melbourne, Australia Lindsay Davenport (USA) 2-6 6-3 6-0

Performance timeline

Tournament 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 1998 Career
Australian Open W - W - QF 4r 3r 2r 2
French Open - QF SF W QF - 3r 4r 1
Wimbledon 3r F W W QF SF - 3r 2
US Open 4r QF - W F QF W 3r 2
WTA Tour Championships . F - F W - - - 1

External links

Women's Tennis Association | World No. 1's in Women's tennis
Tracy Austin | Jennifer Capriati | Kim Clijsters | Lindsay Davenport | Chris Evert | Steffi Graf | Justine Henin-Hardenne | Martina Hingis | Amélie Mauresmo | Martina Navratilova | Arantxa Sánchez Vicario | Monica Seles | Maria Sharapova | Serena Williams | Venus Williams
All-time leader Steffi Graf spent 377 weeks on top of the rankings.
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