Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is a professional tennis player who is currently ranked World No. 2. She has won 18 Grand Slam titles: nine in singles, seven in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She also has won two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked her as the 17th-best player of the preceding forty years. She is the younger sister of a former World No. 1 professional female tennis player, Venus Williams. Serena currently resides at Ballen Isles in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
|Serena Jameka Williams|
|Williams playing World Team Tennis in 2008|
|Residence||Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, U.S. |
|Date of birth||September 26, 1981 (1981-09-26)|
|Place of birth||Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg)|
|Plays||Right; Two-handed backhand|
|Career prize money||US$21,774,846 |
(3nd in all-time rankings)
|Highest ranking:||No. 1 (July 8, 2002) (September 8, 2008)|
|Grand Slam results|
|Australian Open||W (2003, 2005, 2007)|
|French Open||W (2002)|
|Wimbledon||W (2002, 2003)|
|US Open||W (1999, 2002, 2008)|
|WTA Championships||W (2001)|
|Olympic Games||QF (2008)|
|Highest ranking:||No. 5 (October 11, 1999)|
|Grand Slam doubles results|
|Australian Open||W (2001, 2003)|
|French Open||W (1999)|
|Wimbledon||W (2000, 2002, 2008)|
|US Open||W (1999)|
Serena was born in Saginaw, Michigan. When she and her four sisters were young, their parents, Richard and Oracene (also called Brandy), moved to the 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 an opportunity for a better life. The children were homeschooled.
When Serena was four and a half, she won her first tournament, and she entered 49 tournaments by the age of 10, winning 46 of them. At one point, she replaced her 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 in Haines City, Florida at Greneleaf Resort and Conference Center 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.
Williams 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 tournament in Quebec City, where she was ousted in less than an hour of play.
Williams's biggest achievement of 1997 was her run in Chicago; ranked World No. 304, she upset both Monica Seles and Mary Pierce, recording her first career wins over top 10 players. She finished 1997 at World No. 99.
1998 was the first year that Williams finished ranked in the WTA top 20. She began the year in Sydney as a qualifier, ranked World No. 96, and defeated World No. 3 Lindsay Davenport in a quarterfinal. Williams was then expected to do well in her first Grand Slam tournament, but lost in the second round of the Australian Open to sister Venus.
Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year. She won 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 Slams. Williams 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 U.S. $2.6 million in prize money during the year.
In 1999, Serena defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final of the Open Gaz de France tournament in Paris, the same day that Venus won the tournament in Oklahoma City. This was the first time in professional tennis history that two sisters had won titles in the same week.
In March, Williams won the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, becoming the second of only five unseeded Tier I champions in WTA history. Williams (ranked 21st) defeated the World No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the second round, the World No. 8 Mary Pierce in a quarterfinal, and the World No. 7 Steffi Graf in the three-set final.
At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, sister Venus halted Serena's 16-match winning streak in the final. This was the first all-sister singles final during the open era. Serena defeated World No. 3 Monica Seles and World No. 1 Martina Hingis en route to the final.
On April 5, 1999, Serena made her top 10 debut at World No. 9. Venus was ranked sixth the same week, marking the first time that two sisters appeared in the top ten simultaneously since April 22, 1991, when Manuela and Katerina Maleeva were in the top ten.
At the US Open, the seventh-seeded Williams defeated World No. 4 Seles, World No. 2 Davenport, and World No. 1 Hingis to become the lowest seed to win the titleand the second African-American woman (after Althea Gibson in 1958) to win a Grand Slam singles tournament.
Williams went on to take the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, defeating Venus in the final.
Williams won her singles match and doubles match during the tie between the United States and Russia in the final of the Fed Cup. The U.S. won four of the five matches and its 16th title overall. In their doubles match, Serena and Venus defeated Elena Dementieva and Elena Makarova 6–2, 6–1.
Williams finished the year at World No. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams became the focus of many ad campaigns, including one with shoe and clothes maker Puma, which signed her to a U.S.$12 million agreement.
Following her breakthrough season, Williams's results declined slightly in 2000. Her best Grand Slam showing was a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon, before losing to sister and eventual champion Venus. Her defense of the US Open title came to a disappointing end when she fell to Lindsay Davenport in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Perhaps the highlight of Williams's year was picking up the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics for women's doubles, along with Venus. The Williams sisters also teamed up to take the women's doubles title at Wimbledon, while Serena picked up singles titles in Hanover, Los Angeles and Tokyo. She finished the year at number six, a slight decline on her finish the year before.
Williams reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time before falling to World No. 1 Martina Hingis. Serena and her sister Venus won the women's doubles title there, becoming only the fifth women's doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam doubles titles during their career, a "Career Grand Slam".
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams captured her second title of the year at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating World No. 3 and top-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the final. At the US Open, Williams defeated Hingis in the semifinals to reach her second Grand Slam final before losing to sister Venus.
Williams finished the year at World No. 6 for the second straight year.
Williams was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open due to injury but won her first event of the year in Scottsdale, defeating World No. 1 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, again defeating Capriati in the final. She then captured her first career title on clay at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, defeating Justine Henin in the final.
Williams was the third-seeded player at the French Open and dropped just two sets en route to the final. She then defeated sister Venus 7–5, 6–3. At Wimbledon, Williams won the title without dropping a set, defeating Venus once again in the final. This win earned Williams the World No. 1 ranking (dethroning her sister and becoming the second African-American woman to hold that ranking on the Women's Tennis Association computer). The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this event.
Williams captured her third straight Grand Slam singles title at the US Open, once again not dropping a set en route, and defeated Venus yet again in the final in straight sets. Williams then won back-to-back titles in Leipzig and Tokyo. She reached the final at the year-ending Home Depot Championships but lost to 19-year-old Kim Clijsters 7–5, 6–3.
Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the World No. 1 ranking.
At the Australian Open, Williams dropped only one set while reaching the semifinals. She then defeated Kim Clijsters 4–6, 6–3, 7–5, recovering from a 5–1 deficit in the third set and saving two match points. She then faced her sister Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final and won in three sets, to become the fifth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf. The Williams sisters won their sixth doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured titles at the Open Gaz de France in Paris and the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida and went into the French Open trying to capture her fifth consecutive Grand Slam singles title. However, she lost to eventual champion Justine Henin in the semifinals 6–2, 4–6, 7–5 (having led by a break in the third set) in a match marred by controversy, in which Williams was booed. Two weeks later, however, Williams won her sixth Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Henin in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2 before defeating Venus in the final.
Wimbledon was Williams's last event of the year, as a knee injury forced her to withdraw from all other events (including the US Open). As a result, she lost her World No. 1 ranking to Clijsters in August, having held it for 57 weeks. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 3, despite having played only seven tournaments plus Fed Cup.
Williams withdrew from the Australian Open to continue rehabilitating her left knee. After eight months away from the tour, Williams began her comeback at the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she defeated Elena Dementieva in the final. She then lost in the French Open quarterfinals to Jennifer Capriati 6–3, 2–6, 6–3, which was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001. She reached the final of Wimbledon, but in one of the most surprising upsets in the tournament's history, the 17-year old Russian player, Maria Sharapova, defeated Williams 6–1, 6–4.
On July 30, Williams withdrew from her quarterfinal match in San Diego against Russia's Vera Zvonareva with another 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 Summer Olympics.
Williams's next tournament was the US Open, where she lost a quarterfinal match to Capriati. The match was plagued by disputes over calls with the umpire. Williams protested later on the Ellen show by wearing a bright orange shirt with white capital letters, stating "THE BALL WAS IN!"
At the China Open in Beijing, Williams defeated the newly crowned US Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the final. Williams earned enough points there to reach the WTA Tour Championships, where she again lost to Sharapova in the final. Williams suffered a stomach muscle strain during the match after leading 6–4, 2–1, consequently Williams began delivering serves barely reaching the 100 mph mark and Sharapova eventually won the match, 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. Despite the loss, Williams finished the year at World No. 7.
Williams won the Australian Open, her seventh Grand Slam singles title. She defeated three of the tournament's top four seeds (#2 Amélie Mauresmo, #4 Maria Sharapova, and #1 Lindsay Davenport) en route to the title. Williams saved three match points against Sharapova in the semifinals. The win moved her up to World No. 2, and Williams stated she was now targeting the number one spot in the foreseeable future.
Williams did not reach the final at any of her next five tournaments. This period included a loss to sister Venus - her first since 2001 - in the quarterfinals of the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round 7–6, 6–2. 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 during the remainder of the year, a loss to World No. 127 Sun Tiantian in Beijing.
Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11 and with just one singles title.
Williams did not participate in any of the official warm-up tournaments for the Australian Open. Williams was the defending champion at the Australian Open but fell to Daniela Hantuchová 6–1, 7–6(5) in the third round, provoking media reports that Williams had lost enthusiasm for the sport, which she denied. Her world ranking then fell out of the top 50 for the first time in many years, and she withdrew from the tournaments in Antwerp, the Dubai, and the Key Biscayne, Florida.
After withdrawing from the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams's world ranking fell out of the top 100 for the first time in almost nine years. Shortly after, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon because of a chronic knee injury. She said that she would not be able to compete before "the end of the summer," on doctor's orders.
Williams, however, returned to the game earlier than expected, accepting wildcards to summer hard court tournaments in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. Ranked World No. 139 because of her inactivity, Williams upset the Cincinnati tournament's second seed and World No. 11 Anastasia Myskina 6–2, 6–2 in the first round before losing in the semifinals to the eventual champion Vera Zvonareva 6–2, 6–3. Williams's ranking rose to World No. 108 after Cincinnati. In Los Angeles, Williams defeated Hantuchová in the third round but lost in the semifinals to Jelena Janković 6–4, 6–3.
Williams was granted a wildcard into the US Open, as her ranking prevented her from gaining direct entry into the tournament. She was unseeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1998. However, she defeated US Open Series champion Ana Ivanović in the third round before losing to top seed Amélie Mauresmo in the fourth round 6–4, 0–6, 6–2. Williams did not play again for the rest of the year.
Williams ended the year ranked World No. 95, her worst end-of-year ranking since 1997 when she finished World No. 99.
Williams finished 2007 ranked World No. 7 and won two singles titles, her best performance in both aspects since 2004. She was also the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
Williams began the year by stating that she had no doubt she would be World No. 1 again, a comment that attracted criticism in the press from Pat Cash.
Williams competed at the tournament in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia as a warm-up for the Australian Open. However, she lost to unseeded Sybille Bammer of Austria in the quarterfinals. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her World No. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as "out of shape". In the third round, however, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova, which was her first win over a top 10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. In the quarterfinals, Williams was two points from losing to Shahar Pe'er before prevailing and then defeated tenth-seeded Nicole Vaidišová in the semifinals in straight sets. In the final, Williams defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets to win her third Australian Open singles title, her eighth Grand Slam singles title, and her sixteenth Grand Slam title overall. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described by TENNIS.com as "one of the best performances of her career" and by BBC Sport as "arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women's tennis". Her ranking rose to World No. 14 as a result of the win.
Williams next played at the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. In the fourth round, Williams again defeated World No. 2 Sharapova 6–1, 6–1. She went on to reach the final, where she defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin in three sets after Williams saved two match points in the second set.
At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina on clay courts, Williams received a first round bye and then retired from her second round match due to a groin pull. The following week, Williams won her first singles match in the first round Fed Cup tie against Belgium on hard courts but withdrew from the second singles match to rest her knee.
Williams played only one clay court tournament in Europe before the French Open. In Rome at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Williams lost to fourteenth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6–3, 2–6, 7–6(5). After the tournament, however, she re-entered the top 10, moving up to World No. 9.
As the eighth seed at the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Henin 6–4, 6–3. Following the match, Williams said her performance was "hideous and horrendous" and worse than ever. She also said that she felt "violated."
Despite this loss, Williams was one of the favorites for the Wimbledon title. During her fourth round match against Daniela Hantuchová, 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, the rain came and play was suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned to the court, Williams won the match 6–2, 6–7(2), 6–2. Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with World No. 1 Henin 6–4, 3–6, 6–3. Williams started the match with a heavily taped calf and was forced to use a one-handed backhand slice because of an injury to her left thumb. Williams drew criticism when she claimed after the match that she would have beaten Henin had Williams been healthy. After Wimbledon, Williams moved up to World No. 7, the highest she had been since 2005.
Because of the thumb injury, Williams did not play a tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open. At the US Open itself, she beat 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, setting up her third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal with Henin. Williams lost again, 7–6(3), 6–1, her third straight loss to Henin in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event.
In October, Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Stuttgart to World No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–3. Williams then reached her third final of the year at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, defeating Kuznetsova in the semifinals. In the final, however, she lost to Elena Dementieva. Nevertheless, Williams's performances at these tournaments increased her ranking to World No. 5 and qualified her for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. Williams's participation there was short. Because of injury, she retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze after losing the first set and then withdrew from the tournament.
Williams entered the 2008 Australian Open as the defending champion and seventh seed but lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 4 and third-seeded Jelena Janković 6–3, 6–4. This was her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women's doubles event, Serena and her sister Venus lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team, Zheng Jie and Yan Zi.
Upon her return to the tour, Williams won three consecutive singles titles. At the Tier II tournament in Bangalore, India, Serena defeated sister Venus in the semifinals 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(4) after Serena saved a match point 6–5 in the third set. This was the first time they had played each other since the fourth round of the 2005 US Open. Serena then defeated Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the final. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams won her fifth career singles title there, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals, World No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals, and World No. 4 Janković in the final. This was Williams's 30th career singles title. At the clay court Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated, for the fourth consecutive time, second-seeded Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals 7–5, 4–6, 6–1. In the final, Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva to capture her tenth career Tier I title and first clay court title since the 2002 French Open.
Williams's 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin 2–6, 6–1, 7–6(5). Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and made it to the quarterfinals, where Alizé Cornet received a walkover over Williams because of a back injury.
Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the French Open. Although she was the only former winner of this tournament in this year's draw, she lost in the third round to 27th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik 6–4, 6–4.
At Wimbledon, the sixth-seeded Williams reached the semifinals for the first time in four years. She defeated former World No. 1 and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo in the third round 7–6(5), 6–1. She then defeated Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and Zheng Jie, a Chinese wild card, in the semifinals. Williams, however, lost the final to her older sister Venus in straight sets.Serena and Venus then teamed to win the women's doubles title without dropping a set the entire tournament, defeating Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the final.
Williams was seeded first at the tournament in Stanford, California. After defeating fifth-seeded Schnyder in the quarterfinals, Williams retired from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak while trailing 6–2, 3–1 because of a left knee injury. That injury caused Williams to withdraw from the tournament in Los Angeles the following week.
At the Beijing Olympics, Williams was the fourth-seeded player in singles but lost to fifth-seeded and eventual gold-medalist Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals 3–6, 6–4, 6–3. Serena and her sister Venus were the second-seeded team in doubles. They won the gold medal, beating the Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual 6-2, 6-0 in the final.
Williams was seeded fourth at the US Open and defeated her seventh-seeded sister Venus in the quarterfinals 7–6(6), 7–6(7). Serena trailed 5–3 in both sets and saved two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set. Williams then defeated Safina in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2. She went on to win the title, defeating Janković in the final, and became the new World No. 1.
Williams also entered the doubles draw in Stuttgart with her sister Venus, and are the fourth seeds. They beat the team of Daniela Hantuchova and Agnes Szavay in the first round, 6-4 6-1. But due to a left ankle injury to Serena, they had to withdraw from the tournament.
Williams issued a statement on 3rd October 2008 announcing her withdrawal from the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, citing a continuing left ankle injury and a desire to give her body time to recover from a packed 2008 playing schedule. In her statement, Williams recognised that her withdrawal from the Kremlin Cup significantly hindered her chances of finishing the season ranked No.1 in the world