It’s another beautiful Wednesday and it’s that day of the week we get to celebrate women, the strong women who inspire us and today we shine the spotlight on a woman who has been a big inspiration to a lot of people in the world and it’s no other than the skilled and Phenomenal Serena Wiliams.
Serena Williams is a household name, it was stated that of the 24 women to hold the women’s Tennis Association ranking of No. 1 tennis player, Serena has defeated a staggering 20 of them, the remaining 4 she didn’t beat retired before her career began. What an icon!
Today, we will be visiting Serena’s story and how she is a big inspiration.
EARLY YEARS AND CHILDHOOD
Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player currently ranked as the 22nd best player in the world by the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA). Williams began intensive tennis training at age three. She won her first major championship in 1999 and completed the career Grand Slam in 2003. Along with her individual success, Serena has teamed with sister Venus Williams to win a series of doubles titles.
Serena and her older sister Venus Williams (born 1980) were groomed for a tennis career from the age of three years old by their father. With their signature style and play, Venus and Serena changed the look of their sport. Their sheer power and athletic ability overwhelmed opponents, and their sense of style and presence made them standout celebrities on the court. The close-knit sisters lived together for more than a dozen years in a gated Palm Beach Gardens enclave in Florida, but they went their separate ways after Serena bought a mansion in nearby Jupiter in December 2013.
In 1999, Serena beat out her sister Venus in their race to the family’s first Grand Slam win when she captured the U.S. Open title. It set the stage for a run of high-powered, high-profile victories for both Williams sisters.
Williams’s parents wanted their daughter to wait until she was 16 to participate in professional tournaments. However, in 1995 just after turning 14, Williams planned to make her professional debut as a wild-card entry in the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, California, but was denied by the WTA due to age-eligibility restrictions of the organization. She subsequently filed an antitrust lawsuit against the women’s tour, but withdrew it at the behest of her parents. Her first professional event was in October 1995 at the Bell Challenge in Quebec, where she used a wild-card entry to circumvent age-eligibility rules. She lost in the first round of qualifying to then 18-year-old American Annie Miller, winning just two games.
Williams did not play a tournament in 1996.The following year, she lost in the qualifying rounds of three tournaments, before winning her first main-draw match in November at the Ameritech Cup Chicago. Ranked No. 304, she upset No. 7, Mary Pierce, and No. 4, Monica Seles, recording her first career wins over top 10 players and becoming the lowest-ranked player in the Open Era to defeat two top-10 opponents in one tournament. She ultimately lost in the semifinals to No. 5, Lindsay Davenport. She finished 1997 ranked No. 99.
Williams began 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney. As a qualifier ranked No. 96, she defeated No. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals, before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals. Williams made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open, where she defeated sixth-seeded Irina Spîrlea in the first round, before losing to her sister, Venus, in the second round in the first professional match for the sisters. Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year, but lost all of them, including her first match against No. 1-ranked Martina Hingis at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, and her second match against Venus at the Italian Open in Rome. She failed to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam tournament the remainder of the year, losing in the fourth round of the French Open to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, and the third round of the US Open to Spîrlea. She withdrew from Wimbledon two games into a match with Virginia Ruano Pascual, after straining her calf muscle during the first set. She did, however, win the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family’s sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slam tournaments. Williams won her first professional title in doubles in Oklahoma City with Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA title.Williams and her sister won two more doubles titles together during the year. Williams finished the year ranked No. 20 in singles. To date, 1998 is the only year in which Williams failed to win a Major title when she competed at all four majors.
BURN OUT AND COME BACK
In August 2003, Serena underwent knee surgery, and in September her half-sister Yetunde Price was murdered in Los Angeles, California. Three years later, Serena seemed burned out. Plagued by injuries, and just a general lack of motivation to stay fit or compete at the same level she once had, Serena saw her tennis ranking slump to 139.
Serena credited her faith as a Jehovah’s Witness, as well as a life-changing journey she made to West Africa, for renewing her pride and competitive fire. In 2008 she won the U.S. Open. By 2009, Williams won her place back atop the world’s rankings, winning both the 2009 Australian Open singles (for the fourth time) and Wimbledon 2009 singles (for the third time). She also won the doubles matches at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon that year.
In December 2016, she got engaged to Alexis Ohanian (Reddit co-founder). On November 16, 2017, Williams and Ohanian were married at the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Their first daughter Alexis was born September 2017.
In the cover story for the February 2018 edition of Vogue, Williams revealed the major health complications that came with giving birth to Alexis Olympia. After undergoing an emergency cesarean section, Williams experienced sudden shortness of breath, leading to the discovery of blood clots in her lungs. Additionally, doctors found a large hematoma in her abdomen that had been caused by hemorrhaging at the site of her C-section.
Following multiple surgeries, Williams was able to return home after a week. However she was then unable to get out of bed for another six weeks, leaving her feeling helpless at times when it came to tending to her newborn. Despite the toll it took on her emotions, she told Vogue she was willing to consider having more children, but understandably was in no rush to do so.
She recently stunned every one Following the ban from wearing a catsuit at the French Open, the tennis superstar showed up at her first game at the US open, which she won, wearing a stylish black one shoulder dress with a tutu, fishnet stockings and Off-White sneakers that had her name on the outer sole.
For her second game, which she won, again, she wore yet another fashionable outfit similar to her last look, but this it was in purple. All the outfits were designed by Virgil Abloh in partnership with Nike and Off-White.
We shine the spotlight on this amazing woman who keeps making the difference in her career. She is a big inspiration to a lot of us.