Five Moments That Shaped Serena Williams’ Career

While for some individuals, September 26, 1981, was simply another day, for the majority, it was the day of Serena Jameka Williams’ birth in the populous Michigan city of Saginaw. Her parents, security firm pioneer Richard Williams and nurse Oracene Price, raised her and her older sister Venus Williams in Compton, California. Richard Williams was primarily responsible for teaching Serena and Venus Williams the game at a young age and bringing the girls to the neighborhood public courts to watch local matches. By the time the girls were three years old, both of their parents had already begun introducing and encouraging the girls to play tennis.

The girls practiced for several hours every day as they became older under their father’s strict supervision. The Williams’ family moved to Florida in 1991 so they could participate in a tennis program. Serena Williams started her tennis career at age 14 when she became professional in 1995, one year after her elder sister. Along the way, Serena Williams transformed women’s tennis and won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, more than any other player throughout the open period, male or female. In this article, we’ll focus on a few outstanding instances that helped Serena Williams build her amazing tennis career.

1. Her First Victory. (1997)
Venus, 17, was the older sibling, yet every discussion about her always came to the same conclusion. “I’ve heard her sibling will be much better,” they would say. In 1997, Serena started upholding her reputation on a court in Chicago. She defeated the No. 2 seed (and nine-time major winner) Monica Seles and the No. 7 seed Mary Pierce in the main draw just after turning 16 and went on to win two more matches. The argument was made, even though Serena lost in the semifinals.

2. The First Slam. (1999)
While the tennis world was waiting for Venus to win her first Slam, Serena came and stole her thunder at the 1999 U.S. Open with an impressive performance that saw her defeat the world No. 4 (Monica Seles), No. 2 (Lindsey Davenport) and No. 1 (Martina Hingis) in the the final three rounds, respectively. Hingis, who had dominated tennis for a three-year stretch in the late-90s, would never win another major and left the sport three years later.

3. Venus Vs Serena Williams At The U.S Open Finals. (2001)
Venus and Serena Williams’ meeting in the U.S. Open finals on a gorgeous night in September brought all the forecasts, rumors, and speculations together. Venus breezed through her side of the draw after winning three of the previous five majors. It’s been very simple to take the Venus/Serena rivalry for granted over the last 20 years since we’ve gotten accustomed to it. To fully understand how wonderful the entire tale is and how far these sisters have gone in their quest to become professional tennis players, one needs to take a step back. These two sisters lived up to all the hype, meeting in nine Grand Slam finals and winning a combined 30 between them. These two sisters lived up to the promise, competing against one another in nine Grand Slam finals and taking home a combined 30 victories (on top of the 14 doubles majors they won together). They kept up their extracurricular activities, which had been cited as evidence that they would quit the sport early. Despite having quite distinct public personalities, they have managed to prioritize being best friends and sisters above everything else. Every tale needs to start somewhere, and the U.S. Open final was the best place to start. In the history of tennis, it was a turning point. The twins competed in the first of many Grand Slam finals in front of a record 23 million people, with Venus winning 6-2, 6-4 in just over an hour. The final score didn’t matter, history had been made.

4. Serene Winning Her Second Wimbledon Slam. (2015)
Serena won her second Serena Slam at Wimbledon by becoming the first person to accomplish this feat since Steffi Graf did it 27 years previously. But there was a broader objective in mind. Serena would complete the Grand Slam, the actual calendar one, with a victory at the U.S. Open, adding another incredible chapter to her already illustrious career. Two 30-something Italian journeywomen were all that stood between Serena and the Grand Slam after the first 125 games of the competition were over. By the time Serena arrived to the Open, she was worn out. She had been fleeing from matches at Grand Slams while carrying the weight of the athletic world on her shoulders for a full year. (Eleven of her 27 matches went to three sets, which is an incredible statistic for a woman who has won six major championships without dropping a set.) Serena came close to winning the first set against Vinci before becoming obviously uncomfortable and seemed to give up all pretense of planning. She made an effort to persevere, but she was unable to. Her instructor disagreed despite her insistence that it wasn’t nervousness. Graf has always said that the two matches she played at the U.S. Open when the Grand Slam was within reach were the hardest of her life. Serena learned her lesson the hard way.

5. Serena Acquires An Open Victory While Pregnant. (2017)
This was a totally different kind of doubles match. Serena’s triumph at the 2017 Australian Open didn’t seem out of the usual, unless you consider a 35-year-old woman dominating her sisterly rivals in the final while not dropping a set on the way to a 23rd Grand Slam trophy. The true significance of the triumph couldn’t be completely understood until Serena announced she had been playing when eight weeks pregnant a few weeks later.

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This article was written by Maya Mitala


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