Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and regained this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013, becoming the oldest world no. 1 player in WTA’s history. She is the only female player to have won over $50 million in prize money. Williams is the reigning French Open, US Open, WTA Tour Championships and Olympic ladies singles champion.
Williams holds the most Major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female. Her record of 32 Major titles puts her seventh on the all-time list: 17 in singles, 13 in women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously (’02–’03) and only the fifth woman ever to do so. Her total of 17 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list, and fourth in the Open Era, behind Steffi Graf (22 titles) and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (18 titles each). She has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus Williams and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam finals. Serena Williams is also a four-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships. Williams is only one of five tennis players all-time to win a multiple slam set in two disciplines, matching Margaret Court, Roy Emerson, Martina Navratilova and Frank Sedgman. The arrival of Venus and Serena Williams has been credited with launching a new era of power and athleticism in women’s tennis.
Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles, an all-time record shared with her sister Venus.
1 Early life
2 Playing style
3 Professional career
3.1 1995–98: Professional debut
3.2 1999–2001: Becoming a top-10 player
3.3 2002–03: “Serena Slam”
3.4 2004–07: Injuries, depression and the comeback
3.5 2008–10: Back to Number One, back in the titles and a life threatening injury
3.6 2011–13: Career Golden Slam, Oldest World No. 1
3.7 2014–present: 20th year since turning pro
4 On-court activities
4.1 Competition with Venus Williams
4.2.1 2004 US Open
4.2.2 2009 US Open
4.2.3 2011 US Open
5 Off-court activities
5.3 Miami Dolphins venture
5.4 Charity work
5.6 Personal life
6 Grand Slam tournaments
6.1 Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
6.2 Grand Slam tournament finals
6.2.1 Singles: 21 (17 titles, 4 runner-ups)
6.2.2 Women’s doubles: 13 finals (13 titles)
6.2.3 Mixed doubles: 4 finals (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)
7 Records and achievements
8 See also
9 Works cited
11 External links
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price and is the youngest of Price’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde, Lyndrea and Isha Price, and full sister Venus. When the children were young, the family moved to Compton, California, where Serena started playing tennis at the age of four. Her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus and to this day, Serena Williams was and remains coached by both her parents. Williams’ family moved from Compton to West Palm Beach when she was nine so that she could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who would provide additional coaching. Macci spotted the exceptional talents of the sisters. He did not always agree with Williams’ father, but respected that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls”. Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was 10, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on school work. Another factor was racial, as he had heard white parents talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. At that time, Williams had a 46–3 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among under-10 players in Florida. In 1995, when Serena was in the ninth grade, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home. When asked in 2000 whether having followed the normal path of playing regularly on the junior circuit would have been beneficial, Williams responded: “Everyone does different things. I think for Venus and I, we just attempted a different road, and it worked for us.” In 2003 sister Yetunde was fatally shot in an SUV after a confrontation with youths in Compton.
“She’s a competitor. She doesn’t like to give free points and free games.
No matter the score she wants to win those games and those points,
whether she’s down a break point or up a break point or whatever it is.”
Maria Sharapova, on Serena Williams in 2013.
Williams is primarily a baseline player and her game is built around taking immediate control of rallies with her powerful and consistent serve, return of serve, and forceful groundstrokes from both her forehand and backhand swings. Williams’ forehand is considered to be among the most powerful shots in the women’s game as is her double-handed backhand. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance, and uses the same open stance for her forehand. Williams’s aggressive play, a “high risk” style, is balanced in part by her serve, which combines great power and placement with very high consistency. In the 2013 Australian Open, she had a peak serve speed of 128.6 mph (207.0 km/h) which was the second-fastest all-time among female players (Venus recorded the fastest with 129 mph). At the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, Serena hit a women’s tournament record of 102 aces which was more than any of the men hit during the two weeks. Serena also possesses a very solid volley and powerful overhead which is very useful for her net game. Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player, she also plays a strong defensive game.
Williams is also known for her mental toughness and her ability to come back from improbable situations. She has won three Grand Slam singles titles after saving match points (2003 Australian Open versus Kim Clijsters, 2005 Australian Open versus Maria Sharapova, and 2009 Wimbledon versus Elena Dementieva), more than any other player in history, male or female. In the 2012 US Open final against Victoria Azarenka, she was down 5–3 in the third set and found herself two points away from losing the match. Williams then proceeded to win the next 4 games and defeat Azarenka. In recent years, Williams has shown an ability to serve aces at critical moments. One of these instances was the 2013 French Open final, where in the last game of the match, she fired three aces, including one clocked at 123 mph (198 km/h) on match point.
1995–98: Professional debut
Main article: Serena Williams’ early career
Williams’ first professional event was in September 1995, at the age of 14 to counteract the forthcoming changes to age-eligibility rules, at the Bell Challenge. She lost in the first round of qualifying to Anne Miller, winning just two games.
Williams did not play a tournament in 1996. The following year, she lost in the qualifying rounds of three tournaments, before winning her first main-draw match in November at the Ameritech Cup Chicago. Ranked world No. 304, she upset world No. 7 Mary Pierce and world No. 4 Monica Seles, recording her first career wins over top 10 players and becoming the lowest-ranked player in the open era to defeat two top 10 opponents in one tournament. She ultimately lost in the semifinals to world no. 5 Lindsay Davenport. She finished 1997 ranked world no. 99.
Williams began 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney. As a qualifier ranked world no. 96, she defeated world no. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals, before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals. Williams made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open, where she defeated sixth-seeded Irina Spîrlea in the first round, before losing to sister Venus in the second round in the sisters’ first professional match. Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year, but lost all of them, including her first match against world no. 1 Martina Hingis at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, and her second match against Venus at the Italian Open in Rome. She failed to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam tournament the remainder of the year, losing in the fourth round of the French Open to Sánchez Vicario, and the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open, to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Spîrlea, respectively. She did, however, win the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family’s sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slam tournaments. Williams won her first professional title in doubles in Oklahoma City with Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA title. The Williams sisters won two more doubles titles together during the year. Serena finished the year ranked world no. 20 in singles.
1999–2001: Becoming a top-10 player
Williams lost in the third round of the 1999 Australian Open to Sandrine Testud. Williams won her first professional singles title, when she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final of the Open Gaz de France. With Venus also winning the IGA Superthrift Classic that day, the pair became the first sisters to win professional tournaments in the same week. A month later, Serena won her first Tier I singles title at the Evert Cup, defeating Steffi Graf in the final. At the Lipton International Players Championships, Williams had her 16-match winning streak ended by Venus in the first all-sister singles final in WTA history, Serena made her top-10 debut at world no. 9. She then lost in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open and the German Open, and the third round of the French Open, where she and Venus won the women’s doubles title. She then missed Wimbledon because of injury. When she returned to the tour, Williams won a Fed Cup singles match, won the JPMorgan Chase Open, beating Julie Halard-Decugis in the final, and reached the US Open final where she defeated Hingis to become the second African-American woman after Althea Gibson in 1958 to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this tournament. To complete 1999, Williams won a doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Russia. Williams ended the year ranked world no. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams started 2000 by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Elena Likhovtseva. She failed to defend her titles in Paris and Indian Wells, although she did win the Faber Grand Prix. Williams missed the French Open because of injury. She returned at Wimbledon, where she lost to Venus in the semifinals, but they won the doubles title at the event. Williams successfully defended her title in Los Angeles, defeating Davenport in the final. She reached the final of the Du Maurier Open where an injury forced her to retire from her match with Hingis. Her defense of the US Open title ended when she lost in the quarterfinals to Davenport. Williams teamed with Venus to win the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics in September. She ended the year winning the Toyota Princess Cup. She finished the year ranked world number 6.
Williams began 2001 losing to Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals of both Sydney and the Australian Open. Serena and Venus won the doubles title at the latter tournament, becoming only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles during their career, completing a “Career Grand Slam”. Her next event was the Pacific Life Open, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However the final was marred by the behavior of the crowd towards Williams and her family. The crowd were incensed at the perceived match fixing of games involving the family after Venus withdrew before their semifinal. Neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. The following week at the Ericsson Open, Williams lost to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals. She then lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati at the French Open and Wimbledon. This was the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament at which Williams had exited in the quarterfinals. At the North American hard-court season, she lost in the quarterfinals of Los Angeles, then captured her second title of the year at the Rogers Cup, defeating Capriati in the final. Williams reached the final of the US Open, losing to sister Venus. That was the first Grand Slam final contested by two sisters during the open era. At the 2001-ending Sanex Championships, Williams won the championship by walkover when Davenport withdrew before the start of the final because of a knee injury. Williams finished 2001 at world no. 6 for the second straight year.
2002–03: “Serena Slam”
Playing Amélie Mauresmo in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Sydney in 2002
Injury forced Williams to retire from her semifinal match at the Medibank International Sydney and to withdraw from the 2002 Australian Open. She won her first title of the year at the State Farm Women’s Tennis Classic, defeating world no. 2 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Ericsson Open for the first time, becoming one of three players in the open era to defeat the world’s top 3 at one tournament, after beating world no. 3 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, world no. 2 Venus in the semifinals, and world no. 1 Capriati in the final. Her 6–2, 6–2 win over Venus was her second career win over her sister. Williams played three clay-court tournaments before the 2002 French Open. Her first tournament was at Charleston, where she was the third seed. Serena reached the quarterfinals losing to Patty Schnyder. She reached her first clay-court final in May, at the Eurocard German Open losing to Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak. Williams went on to win her first clay court title at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, defeating Capriati in the semifinals and Henin in the final. This raised her ranking to a new high of world no. 3. Williams was the third seed at the French Open, where she claimed her first French Open title by defeating defending champion Capriati in the semifinals, and then defeating Venus in the final to win her Second Grand Slam title. Serena rose to a career high of no. 2 after the win, second only to older sister Venus. At the 2002 Wimbledon Championships, Williams won the title for the first time, defeating Venus to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set for the first time in her career. This victory earned Williams the world no. 1 ranking, dethroning her sister and becoming only the third African-American woman to hold that ranking. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at the tournament, the fifth Grand Slam doubles title for the pair. Williams played just one tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the quarterfinals of the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles to Chanda Rubin, ending a 21-match winning streak. As the top-seeded player at the US Open, Williams reached the final where once again she defeated her sister to win the title for the second time. Williams won two consecutive singles titles in the fall, defeating Kim Clijsters to win the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo, and Anastasia Myskina to win the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany. She reached the final at the year-end Home Depot Championships, where she lost to fifth-seeded Clijsters in straight sets, ending her 18-match winning streak. Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the world no. 1 ranking. She was the first African-American (male or female) to end a year with that ranking since Althea Gibson in 1958. She was the first woman to win three Grand Slam titles in one year since Hingis in 1997.
At the 2003 Australian Open, Williams went on to reach the semifinals for the first time, where she recovered from 5–1 down in the third set and saved two match points, before defeating Clijsters. She faced her sister Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final and won to become the sixth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Margaret Court. She also became the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, joining Maureen Connolly Brinker, Court, Graf, and Navratilova. This feat was dubbed the Serena Slam by the press. The Williams sisters won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured singles titles at the Open Gaz de France and the Sony Ericsson Open. Williams’ winning streak came to an end when she lost the final of the Family Circle Cup to Henin, her first loss of the year after 21 wins. She also lost to Mauresmo in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. Despite these losses, Williams was the top seed at the French Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Henin, marking Williams’s first loss in a Grand Slam tournament since 2001. The match was controversial, as Williams questioned Henin’s sportsmanship, and spectators applauded Williams’s errors. She was known to be dating professional football player LaVar Arrington at the time. Williams rebounded from the loss at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Henin in the semifinals and Venus in the final. This was Williams’ second consecutive Wimbledon title and her sixth Grand Slam singles title overall. This was her last tournament of the year after pulling out of three events in the USA, Williams underwent surgery on the quadriceps tendon in her knee at the start of August. Initially she was expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
2004–07: Injuries, depression and the comeback
Main articles: 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 Serena Williams tennis season
Delivering a serve at an exhibition in November 2004.
After eight months away from the tour during which her desire was questioned, Williams began her comeback at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami, where she made a triumphant return as she won the title. This was the third consecutive year that Williams had won this tournament. Although ranked world number seven, she was seeded second at the French Open. Williams lost to Capriati in the quarterfinals. This was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001. She was seeded first at Wimbledon, even though her ranking had dropped to world number ten. She reached the final, where she was defeated by 13th-seeded Sharapova 1-6 4-6 despite being up 4-2 in the second set. This loss caused her ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since 1999. Williams reached her third final of the year at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles on hard courts where she lost to Lindsay Davenport which was her first loss to the American since the 2000 US Open. She returned for the US Open, where she was seeded third even though she was ranked world number 11. She lost there in the quarterfinals to Capriati in three sets in controversial fashion. Williams won her second title of the year at the China Open, defeating US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Williams qualified for the WTA Tour Championships. In the round-robin phase of the tournament, she defeated Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina, but lost to Davenport. She lost to Sharapova in the final where Williams suffered an abdominal injury that caused her to serve around 65 mph. Williams finished 2004 ranked world no. 7, but did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time since 2001.
At the 2005 Australian Open, Williams rejected suggestions that she and sister Venus were a declining force in tennis, following Venus’s early exit at the tournament. Williams saved three match points in defeating Sharapova 8–6 in the third set of their semi final. In the final, Williams defeated top seed Davenport to win her second Australian Open singles title and seventh Grand Slam singles title, winning 12 of the last 15 games. The win moved Williams back to world number two, and she stated that she was targeting the number one spot. Williams completed just two tournaments between the Australian Open and Wimbledon, losing to Venus in Miami and at Internazionali BNL d’Italia to Francesca Schiavone as Williams suffered a series of retirements and withdraws. A reoccurring ankle injury causing her to miss the French Open. She returned for Wimbledon as the fourth-seeded player, but was defeated in the third round by world no. 85 Jill Craybas. At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams played just one more match the remainder of the year, a loss to world no. 127 Sun Tiantian at the tournament in Beijing. She failed to qualify for the year-end championship for the first time since 1998. She finished the year 2005 ranked world number 11, her first time finishing outside the top 10 since 1998.
Serena Williams in 2006
Williams started 2006 by participating in the Australian Open. Despite being the defending champion, she lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the third round. After the tournament, Williams told the press that she was injured, blaming a lack of fitness and a knee injury for keeping her off the court. However, in her biography, Serena claims that she was actually suffering from depression. After she had shut herself off from the world for a period, her sisters held a type of intervention which made Williams see her therapist daily. After a chance meeting with a young girl who idolized Serena, she signed up to play in Cincinnati. During her conversation with the girl, Williams felt inspired and was informed that she could be even better at tennis. Williams went home and watched some of her old matches and started to believe that she could win again. She had been away from the tour for almost six months and had slipped to 139 in the world, the lowest ranking Williams had held since 1997. On her return, Williams defeated Myskina and Bethanie Mattek, before losing in the semifinals to Vera Zvonareva. She also reached the semifinals in Los Angeles, losing to Jankovi? in straight sets. At the US Open, Williams needed a wildcard to enter the tournament, as her ranking at the cut-off time was 139th in the world, outside the automatic 102. However her ranking had improved to 79th by the time the tournament came around. She lost to top-seeded Mauresmo in the fourth round. She did not play again in 2006, ending the year ranked world number 95, her lowest year-end ranking since 1997.
Williams began 2007 with renewed confidence, stating her intention to return to the top of the rankings, a comment former player and commentator Pat Cash branded “deluded.” Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Hobart, Australia, a warm-up for the Australian Open. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her world no. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as “out of shape.” Williams experienced a huge amount of pressure on herself prior to the tournament, coming from her fans and the press as well as Serena herself about her weight, focus and needing a good showing. But just before her first match, a representative from Nike paid Williams a visit in the players’ lounge, informing her that if she didn’t perform to her accustomed level, the company might drop her. Williams claimed that Nike’s ultimatum meant that she would have to reach the quarterfinals at least. The distraction from Nike did not put Williams off, as she lost just three games to Mara Santangelo and defeated Anne Kremer in straight sets. By this point, a blister had developed on Williams’ foot and she had contracted a cold. In the third round, Williams found herself two points away from going home against Nadia Petrova, but fought back to win in three sets, which was her first win over a top-10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. Williams then made it all the way to the final, defeating Jankovic, Peer and Vaidisova. Williams described them as “good players. Strong players. Players who certainly didn’t expect an overweight, out-of-shape, has been champion like me to give them a game.” Williams also found herself two points from going out against Peer before turning it around. By the time Williams had reached the final, the cold and blister had gone, but Tracy Austin in her tournament analysis stated that Serena had a great tournament, but the ride was over and that Sharapova would have no trouble with Williams. Serena thought it was mean and unnecessary and used it as motivation with all the other criticism. In the final, Williams lost just three games against Maria Sharapova winning her first title at any tournament since winning the 2005 Australian Open. Williams became the first player since Chris O’Neil to win the title whilst not being seeded; and claimed her third Australian Open and eighth Grand Slam singles title overall. The win elevated Williams to 14th in the rankings. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described in the press as “one of the best performances of her career” and “arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women’s tennis.” In her post match interview, Williams took a swipe at her critics, stating that she had proved them wrong.
After defeating Dinara Safina in the fourth round of the 2007 French Open
Williams won the Sony Ericsson Open for the fourth time after defeating Justine Henin. Williams had to record a come-from-behind win after being whitewashed in the first set and saving 2 match points in the second. Williams played for her country in the Fed Cup for the first time since 2003 in a tie against Belgium. Williams won her opening match, but withdrew from the her second, due to a knee injury. At the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Henin. During her fourth round match against Hantuchová at Wimbledon, Williams collapsed from an acute muscle spasm at 5–5 in the second set. After a medical timeout and holding serve to force a tiebreak, rain forced play to be suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned, Williams won the match in three sets. Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with Henin, whilst suffering from the injuries sustained in the previous round. At the US Open, Williams lost her third consecutive Grand Slam singles quarterfinal to Henin. Williams reached the final of Kremlin Cup, losing to Elena Dementieva. Williams qualified for the WTA Championships, but retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze with a knee injury and subsequently withdrew from the tournament. Williams finished 2007 as World number seven and the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
2008–10: Back to Number One, back in the titles and a life threatening injury
Main articles: 2008, 2009, and 2010 Serena Williams tennis season
Williams started 2008 by participating on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup with Mardy Fish. At the Australian Open she lost in the quarterfinals to Jelena Jankovi?. This was her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women’s doubles event, She and Venus lost in the quarterfinals. Williams then withdrew from three tournaments because of an urgent need for dental surgery. Williams then won three consecutive singles titles at Bangalore and her fifth Miami title, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams then added Family Circle Cup her first clay-court title since the 2002 French Open. Her 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of Berlin. Williams then withdrew in Rome in the quarterfinals against Alizé Cornet because of a back injury. Williams was the only former winner of the French Open in the draw, but lost in the third round to Katarina Srebotnik.
Stretching for a ball in her first round match against Kaia Kanepi of Estonia at Wimbledon in 2008
At Wimbledon, Williams reached the finals for the first time in four years. She lost the final to her older sister Venus in straight sets, in their first Slam final since 2003. Serena and Venus then teamed to win the women’s doubles title in their first Grand Slam women’s doubles title since 2003. Williams played at Stanford, but retired 6–2, 3–1 down with a left knee injury from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak, the injury forced her to withdraw from Los Angeles. At the Olympics, Williams lost to Dementieva in the quarterfinals. Serena and her sister Venus won the gold medal in doubles, beating Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final. Williams at the US Open, defeated sister Venus, Safina and Jelena Jankovi? in the final. This was her third US Open and ninth Grand Slam singles title. This victory returned her to the world no. 1 ranking for the first time since 2003. At the Year-End Championships she defeated Safina and lost to her sister Venus in her round-robin matches, but withdrew from her match against Dementieva, citing a stomach muscle injury. She ended 2008 ranked world no. 2 and with four singles titles, her strongest performance in both respects since 2003.
Williams began 2009 at the Medibank International losing in the semifinals to Elena Dementieva. At the Australian Open, she claimed her tenth Grand Slam singles title by defeating Dinara Safina in the final in 59 minutes. This win returned her to the world no. 1 ranking and resulted in her becoming the all-time career prize money leader in women’s sports, overtaking golfer Annika Sörenstam. In women’s doubles, with Venus, they captured the title for the third time. At the Open GDF Suez, Williams withdrew before her semifinal with Dementieva because of a knee injury. Williams then played at Dubai, losing to Venus in the semifinals.
At the 2009 Australian Open
At the Sony Ericsson Open Williams, hampered with ankle and quad injuries, was upset in the final by Victoria Azarenka. This was the first of four consecutive losses for Williams, the longest losing streak of her career. She was defeated in her opening matches at Barcelona, Rome, and Madrid. Despite not having won a match on clay in 2009 before the French Open, she lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. This ended her 18-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak. She rebounded at Wimbledon, saving a match point in defeating fourth seeded Dementieva in the semifinals. In the final, Serena defeated her sister Venus to win her third Wimbledon title and her 11th Grand Slam singles title. Williams and her sister Venus teamed to win the women’s doubles title at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year, their ninth Grand Slam title in women’s doubles.
As a US Open preparation, Williams played at Cincinnati losing in the third round and in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup. At the US Open, she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters amid controversy involving shouting at a line judge when defending match point, an offense which cost Williams the point and consequently the match. She continued in the doubles competition, teaming up with Venus to win their third Grand Slam doubles title of the year and tenth of their career. Williams won all three of her round-robin matches at the year-end WTA Tour Championships, defeating Venus, Dementieva, and Kuznetsova, saving a match point against Venus. She then advanced to the final, when Wozniacki retired from their semifinal match. In the final, Williams defeated Venus for her second singles title at this event. Williams finished the year ranked world no. 1 for the second time in her career, having played in 16 tournaments, more than any other year. She also broke the record previously set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one year, with Williams earning $6,545,586. In doubles, the Williams sisters finished the year ranked world no. 2, despite playing only six tournaments as a pair. She won five Grand Slam titles, putting her total Grand Slam titles at 23. Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. She also was the ITF World Champion in singles and doubles.
Williams on her way to the singles and doubles title at the 2010 Australian Open
In 2010, Williams’s first scheduled tournament was the Medibank International Sydney, losing in the final to Elena Dementieva. At the Australian Open, Williams was the defending champion in both singles and doubles. Williams reached the final, where she defeated Justine Henin for her twelfth Grand Slam singles title. In doubles, Serena and Venus successfully defended their title by defeating Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final. Williams withdrew with a leg injury from her next events. She returned at the Rome losing to Jelena Jankovi? in the semifinals. At the Madrid, she fell to Nadia Petrova in the third round. She teamed with Venus to win the doubles title. At the French Open, she lost to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. She also played doubles with Venus as the top seeds, they won the title defeating Kv?ta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title and improved their doubles ranking to world no. 1.
Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final without facing a break point and breaking the serve of Zvonareva three times. She did not lose a set in the tournament. After the match, Martina Navratilova said that Williams is in the top 5 of all the women’s tennis players in all of history, which she said that “it’s not just about how many Slams you win or how many tournaments you win—it’s just your game overall. And she’s definitely got all the goods.” Serena was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Venus, winning the last two years. They lost in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Zvonareva. In Munich on July 7, Williams stepped on broken glass while in a restaurant, and missed the rest of the year. She ended the year ranked no. 4 in singles, despite having played only six tournaments, and no. 11 in doubles after four tournaments. On March 2, 2011, she confirmed that she had suffered a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.
2011–13: Career Golden Slam, Oldest World No. 1
Williams at the 2011 Rogers Cup.
Main articles: 2011, 2012, and 2013 Serena Williams tennis season
Williams finally made a return to the practice court in March 2011. She made her first appearance on the WTA tour in almost a year in Eastbourne. Williams lost in round two to Vera Zvonareva, in a match that lasted over three hours. Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion. She reached the round of 16, where she lost to Marion Bartoli. After the loss her ranking dropped to 175. Williams next competed at Stanford where she won her first title on her comeback, beating Bartoli in the finals. This title was quickly followed by another in Toronto over Samantha Stosur. At the Western & Southern Open, Serena defeated Lucie Hradecká, only to withdraw the next day, citing a right toe injury. She then played at the US Open going all the way to the final losing to Samantha Stosur, during a match which featured her verbally abusing the chair umpire. The US Open final turned out to be Williams’ last match in 2011, and she ended the year ranked world no. 12 with 2 titles and with a 22–3 record for the season. She only participated in six tournaments throughout the season.
Williams won the singles gold medal at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Williams started the 2012 season at the Brisbane International, however, during her match against Bojana Jovanovski, she injured her left ankle when serving for the match. As a result, Williams was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Next she participated at the Australian Open where she was upset by Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round. After a month layoff Williams returned to competition in Miami losing in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki. Williams then won consecutive titles at Charleston and Madrid beating Lucie Šafá?ová and Victoria Azarenka respectively but withdrew from her semifinals match against Li Na in Rome citing a lower back injury. Williams suffered her first ever loss in the opening round of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open against Virginie Razzano. Williams notched up a 33–1 record for the second half of the season winning five titles in the process. Williams won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, her fourteenth Grand Slam title; setting a serving record of 24 aces by a female in a match as well as having the most aces, male or female during the tournament (103). Williams returned to America to successfully defend her title in Stanford beating Coco Vandeweghe in the final. Serena then returned to Wimbledon to represent her country at the Olympic Games where she won gold. Williams undefeated streak ended with a loss in Cincinnati to Angelique Kerber. In New York City, Williams went on to win her fourth US Open singles title and her 15th career Grand Slam title overall beating Azarenka in the final. Williams ended the season competing at the WTA Championships going undefeated to win the event for her third title. Serena Williams was voted WTA Player of the Year for the fourth time. Based on her brilliant show in 2012, Serena was also named International Tennis Federation World Champion. Williams also returned to doubles competitions with Venus; in the pair’s first tournament since 2010 Wimbledon, they claimed their fifth Wimbledon doubles title and the 13th grand slam doubles title. The pair successfully defended their Olympic doubles title which meant that they became the only tennis players to win four gold medals.
Williams winning her second French Open title
Williams’ first tournament of the 2013 season was in Brisbane, where she won the title without dropping a set. Williams was upset in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open by fellow American player Sloane Stephens. By virtue of defeating Petra Kvitova in Doha, Williams returned to the World Number One position for the sixth time in her career and became the oldest woman in the Open Era to hold the ranking. Williams went on to lose to Victoria Azarenka in the final. In Miami, Williams lost a set to Maria Sharapova, in the final, for the first time since 2008. However, this setback did not stop Williams who recorded her seventieth come-from-behind win. The win made Williams a six-time champion in Miami breaking the record she held with Steffi Graf and became only the fourth woman in the open era to have won a tournament at least six times. Williams successfully defended her Charleston title winning it for the third time overall. Williams won her fiftieth career singles title in Madrid, defeating Sharapova in the final. Williams then played Rome, where she won the title without dropping a set, defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final to take her second title. Williams only dropped ten games in reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. There, she played Svetlana Kuznetsova and lost her first set of the tournament. In the semi final Williams only lost one game when she defeated Sara Errani, something Chris Evert described as the finest female performance on clay she had ever seen. Williams defeated Sharapova to claim her second Roland Garros title, her sixteenth grand slam title overall. She became the fourth woman in the Open era after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf to win each Grand Slam title on at least two occasions. At the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, she advanced easily to the fourth round before being upset by eventual finalist Sabine Lisicki in three sets. After Wimbledon, Williams won the Swedish Open by defeating Johanna Larsson in the final, the tournament win marked the first occasion that she had won an International level title. By winning the tournament this meant that Williams had managed to be undefeated on clay during the season.
Williams winning her fifth US Open title
Williams won her third Rogers Cup title in Toronto beating Sorana Cirstea in the final. Williams reached the final of the Western & Southern Open for the first time but lost to Azarenka. At the 2013 US Open, Williams began as the top seed and defending champion. She reached the final—a rematch of the 2012 final against Azarenka—and won in three sets, capturing her 17th Grand Slam singles title. Williams became the oldest US Open champion in the Open Era and pushed her career prize money past $50 million. After the US Open, Williams headed to Beijing where she beat Jelena Jankovic to win the China Open for her 10th title of 2013. Williams went through the WTA championships undefeated winning the final against Li Na, to become the first person to defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007. Williams won her eleventh title of the year becoming the eighth player to win eleven tournaments or more in a year and the first since Martina Hingis in 1997. Additionally Williams became the oldest person to win the WTA Championships and the fourth player to win the event four times or more. By winning the championship Williams became the first woman to win more than ten million dollars in a season and with her total of $12,385,572, only Novak Djokovic, in 2011 and 2012, has earned more money in a single season. Williams finished as the year end world number one for the third time. She was also named the 2013 ITF World Champion the fourth time that she has been given the World Champion’s crown. Williams received two prizes at the 2013 ESPY Awards. Williams won Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player. Williams is just the fourth person to win Best Female Athlete on two occasions and she won Best Female Tennis player for a record sixth time. In late December, 2013, Williams capped off her year by receiving the Associated Press (AP) 2013 Female Athlete of the Year award, her third AP award after 2002 and 2009. Only two women, Chris Evert and Babe Didrikson, have been chosen more often as AP Athlete of the Year since the annual awards were first handed out in 1931.
2014–present: 20th year since turning pro
Main article: 2014 Serena Williams tennis season
Williams extended her winning streak to 22 matches by successfully defending her title at the 2014 Brisbane International. In the semifinals, Williams defeated world no. 4 Maria Sharapova for the fourteenth consecutive time and, for the title, world no. 2 Victoria Azarenka; 6-4, 7-5. At the Australian Open, Serena was defeated by an in-form Ana Ivanovic in the 4th round. In the match, Williams, surprisingly, hit fewer winners than her opponent; she hit 22 winners to Ivanovic’s 33. Serena’s next scheduled events are Sony Open Miami, Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, Internazionali BNL d’Italia, French Open, Aegon International in Eastbourne and the Wimbledon Championships.
Competition with Venus Williams
Main article: Williams sisters rivalry
Serena Williams has played older sister Venus in 24 professional matches since 1998. Overall Serena is 14–10 against her sister. Serena has played Venus 12 times in Grand Slam singles tournaments and 11 times in other tournaments (including 11 finals). They have met in eight Grand Slam finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, which was the first time in the open era that the same two players had contested four consecutive Grand Slam finals.
2004 US Open
In her 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati, an overrule was made by chair umpire Mariana Alves in Capriati’s favor, even though later video review showed this to be an error (as Williams’ shot was well-inside the court). This was one of several calls that incorrectly went against Williams throughout the match. Williams attempted to argue the call, but was not successful. Capriati won the match, but tournament officials dismissed the umpire from the tournament. The controversy renewed calls for the adoption of technology like the MacCam and Hawk-Eye systems.
2009 US Open
In 2009, Williams again was involved in a controversial U.S. Open match, this time against Kim Clijsters in the semifinal round. The drama began at the end of the first set, when Williams slammed her racquet on the court in frustration over losing the set. She was given a warning, with a potential second violation carrying a one-point penalty. While trailing 4–6, 5–6, 15–30, Williams’s second serve was called a foot fault, resulting in two match points for Clijsters. Williams gestured with her racquet to the lineswoman who had made the call and yelled at her, with profanities and an injury threat. During the subsequent on-court conference between the head judge, the lineswoman, US Open officials, and Williams, a television microphone picked up Williams saying to the lineswoman, “I didn’t say I would kill you. Are you serious?” Audio later confirmed she did threaten the linesman. The incident resulted in Williams being penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct — necessitated by the earlier warning for racquet abuse — meaning Clijsters won the match 6–4, 7–5. The following day, Williams was issued the maximum permissible on-site fine of $10,000 (plus $500 for racquet abuse). After further investigation, the Grand Slam Committee in November 2009 fined her $175,000 in lieu of suspending her from the 2010 US Open or other Grand Slam events. They also placed her on a two-year probation, so if Williams committed another offense in the following two years at a Grand Slam tournament, she would be suspended from participating in the following US Open. If she committed no offenses in the next two years, her fine would be reduced to $82,500. Williams initially refused to apologize for her outburst, both in her post-match press conference and in an official statement released the following day. She eventually apologized to the lineswoman in a statement two days following the incident.
2011 US Open
In the final of the 2011 U.S. Open against Samantha Stosur, Williams again generated controversy. After shouting “Come on!” as the Australian attempted to return a forehand Williams believed to be a winner, chair umpire Eva Asderaki awarded the point to Stosur based on the USTA’s deliberate hindrance rule, which states, “If a player commits any act which hinders his opponent in making a stroke, then, if this is deliberate, he shall lose the point or if involuntary, the point shall be replayed.” As the point was 30–40 on Williams’s serve, the penalty gave the break of serve to Stosur. Williams became angry with the chair umpire and made several gestures and unflattering comments toward her during the next several changeovers, warning her, “Don’t look at me,” and telling her that if Asderaki ever saw Williams coming toward her, she should “look the other way”. She told the umpire that she was “a loser”, and “unattractive on the inside”. Williams initially gained momentum in the set following the penalty, breaking back in the next game, but eventually flagged and lost the match, 6–2, 6–3. At the end of the match, she declined to offer the customary handshake to Asderaki. Williams mentioned the incident in her post-match speech as the tournament runner-up, claiming, “I hit a winner, but I guess it didn’t count”, but added, “It wouldn’t have mattered in the end. Sam played really well.” A writer for ESPN suggested that Williams could avoid being found to have violated the terms of the “probation” on which she was placed following her 2009 outburst, as she did not appear to have used profanity in addressing Asderaki during the match. In the end, Williams was fined $2,000 and was not barred from competing in the 2012 US Open because “…Williams’s conduct, while verbally abusive, [did] not rise to the level of a major offence under the Grand Slam code of conduct.”
Williams was once known for her unusual and colorful outfits on court. In 2002, there was much talk when she wore a black lycra catsuit at the US Open. At the 2004 US Open, Williams wore denim skirts and knee-high boots—tournament officials, however, did not allow her to wear the boots during matches. At Wimbledon in 2008, the white trench coat she wore during warm-up for her opening match was the subject of much discussion since it was worn despite the sunny weather. Off-court, Williams has also presented new designs. In November 2004, at the London premiere of After the Sunset she wore a red gown that had a near-topless effect.
Williams formerly had a special line with Puma and currently has a line with Nike. The deal with Nike is worth US$40 million and was signed in April 2004. Since 2004, she has also been running her own line of designer apparel called “Aneres”—her first name spelled backward. In 2009 she launched a signature collection of handbags and jewelry. The collection, called Signature Statement, is sold mainly on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
In early 2010, Williams became a certified nail technician in preparation for her upcoming nail collection with a company called HairTech.
Williams has appeared on television and also provided voice work on animated shows: in a 2001 episode of The Simpsons Serena joined the animation along with sister Venus, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. She has also provided guest voice work in a 2005 episode of Playhouse Disney’s animated kids show Higglytown Heroes and a 2007 episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, which she has described as her “favorite show”.
Williams has posed for the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Lane Bryant Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In April 2005, MTV announced plans to broadcast a reality show around the lives of Serena and Venus, which was eventually aired on ABC Family. Williams has appeared twice on MTV’s Punk’d and in 2007, appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. In 2002, she played Miss Wiggins in the season 3 episode “Crouching Mother, Hidden Father” of My Wife and Kids; she has also guest-starred during episodes of The Bernie Mac Show, ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007 Williams appeared in the music video of “I Want You” by the American rapper Common, alongside performers Alicia Keys and Kanye West.
In late 2009, Williams became the first active female professional athlete to appear in a feminine hygiene product advertising campaign. A series of online videos and print advertisements for Tampax Pearl tampons showed her hitting balls at Mother Nature, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns, to prevent Mother Nature giving her a red-wrapped gift, representing her menstrual period. In the online videos, the two have dueling press conferences over the “bad blood” between them. “A lot of celebrities are not open to working with our brand, and we’re thrilled that Serena is”, said a brand manager for Tampax at Procter & Gamble.
In May 2012, a minute of an absurd new hip-hop track by Serena Williams was leaked, along with reports the sports star was planning to release an album titled Cray, Cray and My Gucci Glasses. In July 2012, she appeared in the ABC comedic improv television series Trust Us With Your Life and as a lawyer on the Lifetime television series Drop Dead Diva.
Miami Dolphins venture
In August 2009, Serena and Venus Williams became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins. The formal announcement was made during a press conference overlooking the practice field. The Williams are the first African-American females to obtain ownership in an NFL franchise. Other prominent owners include: Jimmy Buffett, Gloria and Emilio Estefan (the first Cuban-American owners), and Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez. Stephan Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, said “We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem.”
In 2008 Williams helped to fund the construction of the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya. She received a Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation in 2003 for work in breast cancer. Williams has also been involved in a number of clinics at schools and community centers, particularly those which have programs focusing on at-risk youth. She has also won the “Young Heroes Award” from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. and Inland (2003) and the “Family Circle and Prudential Financial Player Who Makes a Difference Award” (2004). In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Williams, along with other ATP and WTA stars decided to forgo their final day of preparation for the 2010 Australian Open to form a charity event in which all proceeds will go to the Haiti earthquake victims.
The Williams sisters, with author Hilary Beard, wrote a book titled Venus & Serena: Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules For Living, Loving and Winning, which was published in 2005. During the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, Williams said that she is in the process of writing a TV show storyline, which will be converted into script form by her agency. She stated that the show will represent subject matter from a mix of popular American television shows such as Desperate Housewives, and Family Guy. Serena released her first solo autobiography entitled On the Line, following the 2009 US Open.
Williams and sister Venus are both Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has a practice of not voting. However, the Williams sisters expressed support for President Barack Obama.
Serena Williams dated the rapper Common until they broke up in 2010.
Serena Williams maintains top spot in WTA rankings, sister Venus 29th
Serena Williams continues to dominate the rankings and is nearly a massive 6,000 points clear of second ranked Li Na. Venus Williams gained 15 places to in the latest WTA rankings.
Agence France-Presse | Last updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 18:40 Print font size – +
Paris: Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Simona Halep of Romania both moved up two places in the WTA world top 10 rankings, with Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic slipping down three spots.
Serena Williams continues to dominate the rankings and is nearly a massive 6,000 points clear of second ranked Li Na of China despite going out in the semi-finals in Dubai last week to Alize Cornet of France.
Sister Venus, who won the title in Dubai, her first tournament triumph in 16 months, gained 15 places to stand at 29th.
WTA Top-20 rankings
1. Serena Williams (USA) 12,660 pts
2. Li Na (CHN) 6,795
3. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL) 5,705
4. Victoria Azarenka (BLR) 5,681
5. Maria Sharapova (RUS) 5,206
6. Angelique Kerber (GER) 4,490 (+2)
7. Simona Halep (ROM) 4,435 (+2)
8. Jelena Jankovic (SRB) 4,380 (-1)
9. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 4,365 (-3)
10. Sara Errani (ITA) 4,195
11. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) 3,185
12. Ana Ivanovic (SRB) 3,155
13. Dominika Cibulkova (SVK) 3,056
14. Roberta Vinci (ITA) 2,940
15. Carla Suarez Navarro (ESP) 2,725 (+1)
16. Sabine Lisicki (GER) 2,650 (-1)
17. Samantha Stosur (AUS) 2,605
18. Sloane Stephens (USA) 2,415
19. Eugénie Bouchard (CAN) 2,365
20. Kirsten Flipkens (BEL) 2,285
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Story first published on: Monday, 24 February 2014 18:35