Serena Williams

Tennis Player

Born: 26 September 1981
Birthplace: Saginaw, Michigan
Best known as: The dominant pro tennis player who has won 21 major titles

Serena Williams has dominated women's professional tennis for many of the years since she and her sister Venus became stars of the sport in the late 1990s. She has won 21 major singles titles, putting her third on the all-time list behind Margaret Court (with 24) and Steffi Graf (with 22). Serena Williams was a child prodigy who began playing tennis before she reached kindergarten. She is also African-American, which was a rarity in pro tennis when Serena and Venus reached the pros in the 1990s. Serena quickly became known for her determination, powerful game, and flashy fashion sense. She was a year younger than Venus and (at 5'10") about three inches shorter, but became the first sister to win a major tournament by claiming the singles title at the 1999 U.S. Open. Serena went on to eclipse Venus as the leading women's tennis player of the early 2000s; in 2002-03 she won the "Serena Slam" by holding all four grand slam titles at once: the 2002 French Open, Wimbledon and U.S. Open titles, and the 2003 Australian Open. Her full list of major singles titles: Wimbledon in 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2015; the French Open in 2002, 2013 and 2015 (with a full 11 years between the first two wins); the Australian Open in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2015; and the U.S. Open in 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2014. She won a gold medal in women's singles at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, matching the gold won by her sister Venus at the 2000 Summer Olymics in Sydney. In 2015 she won the first three legs of the Grand Slam, leaving her only the U.S. Open to become the first woman since Steffi Graf to win the Grand Slam of all four major tournaments in one calendar year.

Extra credit:

Serena Williams completed a second “Serena Slam” in 2015, winning the 2014 U.S. Open and the 2015 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon… The only women’s players ever to win the official Grand Slam of all four singles tournaments in one year are Margaret Court (in 1970) and Steffi Graf (in 1988). Maureen Connolly also won the four major tournaments in 1953, in the so-called “pre-Open” era, when Wimbledon was joined by the Australian Championships, the French Championships and the U.S. Championships… Serena Williams’ win in 2015 made her the oldest woman ever to win singles at Wimbledon, at 33 years and 289 days.

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