Serena Jameka Williams is an American professional tennis player. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time behind Margaret Court. The Women’s Tennis Association ranked her singles world No. 1 on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017.
Serena Jameka Williams to Oracene Price and Richard Williams. She is the youngest of Price’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde, Lyndrea, and Isha Price, and full older sister Venus. She also has at least seven paternal half-siblings. When the children were young, the family moved to Compton, California, where Williams started playing tennis at the age of four. Her father home schooled Serena and her sister, Venus. While he and subsequently her mother have been the official coaches, other mentors who helped her learn the game included Richard Williams, a Compton man who shared her father’s name and would go on to found The Venus and Serena Williams Tennis/Tutorial Academy.
When Williams was nine, she and her family moved from Compton to West Palm Beach, Florida, so that she could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci; Macci began to provide additional coaching. Macci did not always agree with Williams’s father, but respected that “he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls”. Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was 10 since he wanted them to go slowly and to focus on school work. Experiences of racism also drove this experience, as Richard Williams had heard white parents talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. At that time, Williams had a 46–3 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked number one among under-10 players in Florida. In 1995, when Williams was in the ninth grade, her father pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy and, from then on, took over all coaching at their home. When asked in 2000 whether having followed the normal path of playing regularly on the junior circuit would have been beneficial, Williams responded: “Everyone does different things. I think for Venus and I, we just attempted a different road, and it worked for us.”
She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most by any player in the Open Era, and the second-most of all time behind Margaret Court (24). The Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) ranked her singles world No. 1 on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017. On her sixth occasion, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf. In total, she has been WTA No. 1 for 319 weeks, which ranks third since WTA Rankings began behind Graf and Martina Navratilova. She is the only American player, male or female, to win more than 20 majors.
Williams is widely regarded to be one of the greatest tennis players of all time. She holds the most major titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players, with 39: 23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era for total major titles accumulated. She is the most recent woman to have held all four major singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15) and the third player to achieve this twice, after Rod Laver and Graf. Williams is also the most recent woman to have won the Surface Slam (major titles on hard, clay and grass in the same calendar year), doing so in 2015. She is also, together with her older sister Venus, the most recent player to have held all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10).
Williams has won a record 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hard court. Williams holds the Open Era record for most women’s singles titles at the Australian Open (7) and shares the Open Era record for most titles won at the US Open with Chris Evert (6). She also holds the records for the most women’s singles matches won at majors with 365 matches and most singles majors won since turning 30 years old (10). She is the only tennis player, male or female, to have won three of the four Grand Slams at least 6 times. Williams is also a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships in the singles division.
Williams has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. As a team, she and Venus have the third most women’s doubles Grand Slam titles, behind the 18 titles of Natasha Zvereva (14 with Gigi Fernández) and the record 20 titles won by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. She and Venus are the only tennis players in history with four Olympic gold medals, as well as the only ones to win Olympic gold in the same event on three occasions. She and Venus are the only Open Era women tennis players to win Olympic Gold in both the singles and doubles categories. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, Williams became only the third player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at one Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody at the 1924 Summer Olympics and Venus at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Williams is the only player, male or female, to accomplish a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. The arrival of the Williams sisters has been credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women’s professional tennis tour.
Earning almost $29 million in prize money and endorsements, Williams was the world’s highest-paid woman athlete in 2016. She repeated this feat in 2017 when she was the only woman on Forbes’ list of the 100 highest-paid athletes with $27 million in prize money and endorsements. She has won the ‘Laureus Sportswoman of the Year’ award four times (2003, 2010, 2016, 2018), and in December 2015, she was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine. In 2021, she was ranked 28th on Forbes’ World’s Highest-Paid Athletes list. In terms of career prize money, she stands as the highest-earning woman athlete of all time.
Serena Williams is 41 years old (birth date September 26, 1981).
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, United States.