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A Brief Introduction to Serena Williams
Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player and olympian. Born in Saginaw, Michigan to parents Oracene Price and tennis coach Richard Williams, Serena is the younger sister of fellow professional female tennis player Venus Williams. From her youth, Serena and her sister Venus trained with their father. She and her family eventually moved to Compton, California, and then later, West Palm Beach, Florida, so she and Venus could attend Rick Macci’s tennis academy.
In 1998, Serena made her professional tennis debut at the Australian Open, winning her first round against sixth-seed Irina Spîrlea before ultimately losing to Venus in the second. Today, Serena holds 23 Grand Slam singles titles,14 Grand Slam doubles titles, two mixed doubles titles, four Olympic gold medals, and a variety of other tournament championships. In 2002 she was ranked number one in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA), a position she held for 319 total weeks. In 2016, Serena became the highest-paid female athlete in the world, a title she maintained the following year as well. She has her own sustainable clothing line and works as an activist for civil rights and gender equality.
An Overview of Serena Williams’s Tennis Style
Serena Williams is an all-around power player whose biggest strengths are her right-handed forehand and sharp serve, which has a max speed of 128.6 mph—the 3rd fastest recorded women’s serve. Serena plays with a two-handed backhand and uses an open stance for her groundstrokes. She is known for her precise ball placement and quick footwork. Serena is also known for her unexpected comebacks, occasionally executing long slides and splits to reach the ball and win the point.
Serena Williams’s 4 Olympic Gold Medals
Serena is a four-time Olympic gold medalist, taking her fierce athleticism to the tennis court multiple times. Here is an overview of some of her Olympic victories.
- 2000 Sydney Olympic Games: Serena joined forces with her sister Venus to earn the gold medal for the US in women’s doubles.
- 2008 Beijing Olympic Games: Though she lost her singles match in the quarterfinal to Elena Dementieva, Serena teamed up with her sister once again to win the Olympic gold medal in doubles tennis.
- 2012 London Olympic Games, Women’s Singles: At the 2012 London Olympics, Serena defeated Maria Sharapova at Wimbledon, earning her the gold in singles tennis.
- 2012 London Olympic Games, Women’s Doubles: The same year she won the gold medal for women’s singles, Serena would also win the gold for women’s doubles with her sister. This made the Williams duo the first players in tennis history to ever win four Olympic gold medals.
11 of Serena Williams’s Major Tournament Wins
In addition to being undefeated in women’s doubles with Venus, Serena Williams has made it to 33 Grand Slam final matches for women’s singles, winning 23 of them in total. A few of Serena’s major tournament titles include:
- 1999 US Open: At Serena’s first Grand Slam tournament, she made history when she defeated the number one player at the time Martina Hingis. At 17 years old, she also became the first Black woman to win this title.
- 2001 Australian Open: The Williams sisters won the doubles tournament at the 2001 Australian Open. This made them the youngest and only Black duo in the sport at the time to win a Grand Slam in women’s doubles after securing wins at the three other major tournaments.
- 2002 French Open: This was Serena’s second Grand Slam singles title of the year and first French Open win. She faced off against her sister in the finals and defeated her.
- 2002 Wimbledon: Serena defeated her sister Venus in the Wimbledon singles to earn her first Wimbledon singles title.
- 2003 Australian Open: This year marked the first time Serena reached the semifinals of this Grand Slam tournament, defeating Kim Clijsters and facing off against her sister Venus in the finals. Her victory made her only the sixth woman in the Open Era of tennis to win a career Grand Slam, later dubbed as the “Serena Slam.”
- 2003 Wimbledon: In 2003, Serena won her second consecutive Wimbledon title against her sister Venus.
- 2007 Australian Open: This match marked the moment Serena was able to defeat her long-time rival Maria Sharapova whom she lost to at Wimbledon in 2004.
- 2010 Australian Open: Serena had a long, fierce rivalry with Justine Henin, whom she faced off against 14 separate times. She defeated Justine in this year’s final of the Australian Open.
- 2012 US Open: Serena defeated Victoria Azarenka in this match, earning her seventeenth Grand Slam title and fourth US Open title of her career.
- 2016 Wimbledon: Serena’s defeat of player Angelique Kerber marked her twenty-second Grand Slam win, tying her for the record with previous record-holder Steffi Graf.
- 2017 Australian Open: Serena defeated her sister Venus in the finals of the Australian Open, earning a twenty-third Grand Slam title and beating Steffi Graf’s record of 22.