The Glam Slamming One and Only
Serena Jameka Williams was born on September 26th, 1981 and is an American Tennis Player, entrepreneur, author and philanthropist. In our opinion, she is arguably, one of the top female athletes in the world. Over the years, Williams has won numerous Grand Slam titles, Olympic Gold Medals and won a series of doubles titles with her older sister, Venus Williams.
Williams began her tennis training at age three when her father, Richard Williams, had her practicing on a court along with Venus, teaching them both how to play the game. They practiced two hours daily at a facility not far from their home in California.
In 1999, after losing in the third round of the Australian Open to Sandrine Testud, Williams bounced back, not even a month later, to win the Open Gaz de France in Paris after beating Amelie Mauresmo, giving her the first of many professional titles. Williams also made history that week as her sister, Venus Williams, won the IGA Superthrift Classic in Memphis, Tennessee on the same day, making them the first pair of sisters to ever win professional tournaments in the same week.
Later that year, Williams beat Steffi Graf in the Evert Cup finals in California, giving her a Tier I title win, her first. Williams went on a 16-match winning streak after that until the Miami Masters, where her streak was ended by none other than her sister, Venus, in the first ever all-sister singles final in Tennis history. Serena then entered the women’s doubles with Venus and went on to win the French Open female doubles.
After missing Wimbledon due to an injury, Williams went on the chase for her Grand Slam title. Beating multiple former Grand Slam Champions in a row: Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles, defending champion Lindsay Davenport and finally Martina Hingis to win her first of many, Grand Slam titles. Williams was the second African American woman to win the women’s Grand Slam title after Althea Gibson, who had won it back in 1958.
In 2003, Williams had knee surgery along with family troubles that would follow not far behind. A mere three years later, Serena had slumped and was facing a burnout.
After re-evaluating her priorities, Serena came back stronger than ever. She won the U.S. Open in 2008. In 2009, she won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon in both the singles and doubles matches, once again becoming one of the top female tennis players in the world. She also won the Australian Open singles and doubles and Wimbledon singles match in 2010.
Serena was born to Richard and Oracene Williams in Saginaw, MI where she was the youngest of five sisters. The family moved to Compton, CA because Richard wanted his children to see what life would look like without an education and hard work. Compton is known for its high rate of gang activity so for the Williams sisters, working hard was a must.
Family and Personal
In 2003, Yetunde Price, Serena’s half-sister was murdered in Los Angeles, California. To help deal with the burnout she was facing and the death of her sister, Serena embarked to West Africa on what as a life-changing journey. This and her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness embraced her spirit and willingness to return to tennis professionally.
After a 2009 incident over a foot-fault, Serena landed in news headlines after she had a disagreement with a lineswoman. This led to a $10,000 fine for the incident, two years of probation and another $82,500 in fines payed to the Grand Slam committee. This was the largest fine ever levied against a player.
In 2011, Williams was forced to take a hiatus from the tennis world when doctors found a blood clot in her lungs. After several procedures, doctors also removed a hematoma from Williams.
In December of 2016, Williams was engaged to Alexis Ohanian. Ohanian is an internet entrepreneur and investor. He co-founded the social news website Reddit along with Steve Huffman.
In September of 2017, Serena gave her birth to her first daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., named after her father. In November, Serena married Alexis at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans.
In 2018, Williams did an exposé with Time Magazine about the release of her half-sisters murderer, three years short of his parole sentence. She discussed how the news played a heavy part in her life. Williams also did a cover story with Vogue about complications she had following her daughters’ birth. More blood clots were discovered in her lungs after having a cesarean section. Williams has mentioned wanting more children even though she’s in no rush to do so.
Outside Work and Appearances
In 2002, Wiliiams developed her own brand of clothing and was later named as one of People’s 25 Most Intriguing People. She was later named by Essence as one of USA’s top 50 most inspiring African American women.
Nike signed a five-year deal with Williams in 2003 for $55 million dollars for an endorsement contract after her contract with Puma expired earlier that year. She also voiced a Nike ad entitled Dream Crazier, spotlighting women who have broken through barriers and inspired athletes across generations to live their dreams. She also has a Nike collection entitled “Queen” alongside of Virgil Abloh – who also pushed boundaries and inspired youth, like Williams.
Serena also built the “Serena Williams Foundation,” providing underprivileged youth with educational opportunities around the world. Her foundation built schools in Africa.
Serena released an autobiography in 2010, called Queen of the Court.
Williams lent her voice to “The Simpson” tv show and in May 2018, HBO released a mini five-chapter documentary series about her that was entitled Being Serena. Coinciding with the release of new clothing line.