Serena Williams Is Leaving, Having Made An Indelible Mark On The Tennis World. Look At The Best Moments Of Her Career With Us
We present a profile of the legendary American tennis player.
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Serena Williams recently announced that her tennis career is coming to an end. It was full of victories and shining moments, but also falls and controversy. Reminisce with us about how the now legendary athlete started her tennis journey and what her path to the top was like.
She experienced her father's hard training as a child
Serena Jameka Williams was born to a very large family on September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan. Father Richard Williams met Serena's mother at a time when he was already divorced once and had five children. He married Oracene Price, the mother of three children, in 1980. Their daughter Venus was born that same year, and Serena was born a year later.
The sisters started playing tennis together as children. Serena was not even four years old when the family moved to the city of Compton, near Los Angeles. Both parents took on the role of Venus and Serena's tennis coaches. The girls were homeschooled. Richard Williams used what he read in books or watched on video tapes for his tennis training.
Richard Williams did not choose Compton by accident. The city was known for high crime and the presence of street gangs. He wanted to show his daughters how bad life can be if you don't work hard and get an education. The courts there were full of potholes, and the net was often missing. This was supposed to make both Serena and Venus work harder and play more persistently.
When Serena was nine, there was another move. This time to Los Angeles, where she began attending Rick Macci's tennis academy. Richard Williams himself asked the former tennis player and coach to train the girls. And Macci knew from the first moment that he had extremely talented players in front of him. He stated that during the first training session he was shocked by how much work and effort the sisters are able to put into training.
Richard Williams gave up some of his coaching duties for a while, but soon returned to them. He limited his daughters' participation in some tournaments around the United States. The reason was, among other things, that the then rising tennis star, the young Jennifer Capriati, was arrested in a hotel room for possession of marijuana. She was also trained by Macci and Williams worried that the girls might be led in the wrong direction in such an environment.
The sisters often faced racist abuse at tournaments. These experiences prompted Williams to withdraw his daughters from the grueling and at times harmful circuit. He started training them again himself and waited until they were ready to make their professional debut.
A quick rise to the top
Although the brighter tennis future was predicted for the older Venus, and for several years the two dominated the tennis world, Serena eventually surpassed her sister in terms of statistics and victories.
Serena entered the world of professional tennis in 1995. It didn't take long and she soon started competing with the world's best tennis players. In 1997, as the 304th player in the rankings, she defeated world number seven Mary Pierce and number four Monika Seleš. She won her first Grand Slam title two years later.
The year 1999 was a turning point for Serena. At her home US Open, the older Venus had to face a semi-final defeat by world number one Martina Hingis. However, the Swiss star was then stopped by the younger of the sisters and showed her opponents that a great star was born.
I would like to leave a mark on the world of tennis. I probably won't achieve what Martina Navrátilová did, I probably won't play that long. But who knows? Even so, I could leave a mark.
Escape from her sister's shadow
Another important milestone for Serena Williams was the year 2002. Although she did not participate in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season in Australia due to injury, she dominated the following French Open. She fought her way to the final with the loss of only two sets and defeated her great rival, her sister Venus. Thanks to the win, she climbed to the second place in the WTA rankings.
Another defeat of the older sister followed in the Wimbledon final. Thanks to her triumph over Venus, Serena jumped to the position of the best player on the planet, where she remained for the next fifty-seven weeks. This year, Serena won three Grand Slams out of four, which was previously accomplished by the aforementioned Martina Hingis in 1997.
The last title missing from her collection was the Australian Open. She achieved it in 2003. Although she did not win them all in one season, she joined the club of tennis legends alongside Steffi Graf, Martina Navrátilová or Chris Evert.
Return to the spotlight
The period between 2004 and 2006 was not one of her most successful. She withdrew from tournaments, often due to injury or lack of form. She gradually fell down the rankings. In April 2006, she dropped out of the top 100. She entered some tournaments, but did not show any brilliant performances. It finished 2006 in 95th place, its lowest since 1997.
She struggled with depression and described this period as the worst of her life. But she was able to prove wrong everyone who talked about the end of Serena's era. She went to the Australian Open as the 84th player. She fought her way to the final, where she easily defeated Russia's Maria Sharapova.
Gradually, she also returned to the throne for the best player. It was in 2009 when she triumphed at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Her return was hampered by health problems. In 2011, she suffered a pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot. But she reached the top again, namely in 2013, when she won the world number one spot for the third time and became the oldest leader in the history of women's tennis. In 2015, she managed to dominate all four Grand Slams for the second time (although not in one season).
It would almost take a novel to list all of Serena Williams' tennis achievements. We present her greatest achievements in a clear table:
|Success:||Number of titles/wins/weeks as world number one:||World Table Rankings (in Open Era):|
|Total number of titles on the WTA circuit||73||3.|
|Total number of Grand Slam titles||23||2.|
|Wins at the Australian Open||7 (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017)||1.|
|Wins at French Open||3 (2002, 2013, 2015)||5.|
|Wins at Wimbledon||7 (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016)||2. (together with Steffi Graf)|
|Wins at US Open||6 (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)||2. (together with Chris Evert)|
|World number one position||319 weeks||3.|
|Total number of WTA doubles titles||23|
|Olympic gold||4 (1× singles, 3× doubles)|
She played the last Grand Slam final pregnant
She won her last Grand Slam title in Australia in 2017. Who did she beat in the final? It was none other than her older sister Venus. "Without her, I wouldn't have achieved any title, without her I wouldn't have been able to do anything. She is my inspiration and the only reason I am standing here today,” Serena sang odes to her sister during her acceptance speech. She rewrote history. With her 23rd Grand Slam title, she ranks second in the all-time charts behind Margaret Court, who has one more trophy.
In April, Serena announced that she was 20 weeks pregnant. She won her twenty-third Grand Slam while in a blessed state. Many expressed astonishment that she could perform so admirably while carrying a child under her heart, and at the age of thirty-five.
Daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian was born in September 2017, after a very difficult birth, during which the tennis player almost lost her life. She was able to return to the courts very soon, and even made it to the finals of several Grand Slam tournaments, but she is still waiting for her coveted 24th title from a major tournament.
She did not avoid controversy
In addition to successes, Serena Williams' career was marked by many controversial moments. She didn't hesitate to argue with the referees. For example, in 2009 she was fined for unsportsmanlike behavior towards the linesman. According to some American media, she was said to have threatened to kill her.
The 2019 US Open final, in which Serena eventually lost to Naomi Osaka from Japan, also sparked controversy. The final match was marked by clashes between the American tennis player and the referee, who admonished her for taking unauthorized advice from her coach.
She broke the rules a second time when she threw the racket to the ground in anger. The referee then awarded a penalty. Williams did not hesitate to argue with him. She accused him, among other things, of sexism and of taking her fifteenths unfairly. "You owe me an apology, I never cheated. You stole my point, you're a thief," she launched into him sharply to the loud support of the home crowd.
Many condemned her for hysterical behavior, others admired her for fighting for the rights of female tennis players. According to her, men do much worse things on the courts, but no one punishes them like that.
“Building a tennis resume or a family? I choose the latter.'
Whether you lean towards one camp or the other, you can't deny that Serena Williams left an indelible mark on the world of tennis and became one of the sport's most distinctive personalities.
I didn't want to admit that I had to move on from tennis. The subject was taboo. I think about it and I want to cry.
Whether she can succeed and win a record 24th Grand Slam title will be shown at this year's US Open, where she won her first ever trophy in 1999. It will also probably be the last time she will appear on the tennis courts in the US. In an article for the September issue of Vogue magazine, she wrote that family plans took precedence over tennis.
Daughter Olympia would like to have siblings. "She often says that, sometimes before she goes to bed she prays for a little sister. I have four sisters myself and they are my heroes. I find it so important to listen to her wishes," she said, adding that she is at an age when it is impossible to fully devote herself to both.
"Believe me, I never wanted to choose between family and tennis. It's not fair. If I were a man, I would never write this article. I would play and win while my wife would physically expand our family,” she wrote. Even though she will devote herself to other activities, apart from family life, for example her business, she will miss tennis. “Like it's not real until I say it out loud. When it comes to that, I get an unpleasant lump in my throat and cry," she added.
She tries not to think about whether she will say goodbye to tennis as the winner of the tournament. "I'd be lying if I said I didn't want to get it. I'll be thinking about it when I get to the finals. But the fact that I managed to do it twenty-three times is extraordinary. If I have to choose between building my tennis resume or building a family, I choose the latter."
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