The Genesis of Serena Williams
When Serena Williams and her sister Venus burst onto the scene in the late ‘90s, women’s tennis had never seen anything like them. Serena took the sport and transformed it in her image: Black, powerful, and beautiful.
She picked up her first racket when she was only three years old. She and Venus practiced their game on public courts in the city parks of Compton, California. Serena, Venus, and their family then moved to West Palm Beach, Florida to attend one of the top tennis academies — but a year later her father pulled them out, due to alleged racist comments made by other parents off the court. From them on, he became the sisters’ full–time coach.
They went on to become tennis legends with Serena becoming the most dominant women’s player on the court. She’s held the world’s number one rank eight times between 2002 and 2017. She’s won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, and four Olympic gold medals. She’s also been Forbes’ highest paid woman in sports three years running.
She’s transformed the way women’s tennis is played, adding power and athleticism to it with her serves and groundstrokes. She’s also widened representation within the sport.
In 2017, Serena welcomed his first daughter, Alexis, and briefly stepped away from tennis. Her candidness about life-threatening complications during childbirth and postpartum depression has been a source of comfort and solidarity to plenty of mothers.
She has since returned to the courts and made finals appearances at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, further proving her strength and love for the game.