Serena Williams has revolutionized the sport of tennis on and off the court. Throughout her long career, she’s proved that no obstacle or barrier is too big. She’s battled fierce opponents, bounced back from injuries and drowned out the noise of critics all the way to the top. This is the story of Serena Williams.
Serena Williams grew up in Compton, California, one of the roughest areas of the United States, where she began to shine at tennis from an incredibly young age. She and her sister Venus were coached by their father who still coaches them today. When Serena was just 9, they relocated from Compton and moved to Florida where she and her sister could sharpen their skills.
Williams made her professional debut when she was 14 years old, losing in a qualifying rounds. Her first big feat in tennis came in 1997 when she upset the fourth and seventh-ranked players in the world in one tournament. She was ranked 304 in the world at the time becoming the lowest ranked player ever to defeat two top ten opponents in a single tournament. Williams won her first Grand Slam title in 1999, the first African-American woman to do so in 41 years since Althea Gibson.
Williams achieved the world number 1 ranking when she defeated her sister, Venus at Wimbledon in 2002. Between 2002 and 2003, Serena Williams won all 4 Grand Slam titles consecutively, it was appropriately called a “Serena Slam” in the press. Williams would continue to sustain her success, but she would battle injuries off and on. Despite her massive success throughout her whole career, 2015 would the year where she took the world by storm, dominating her sport unlike any other athlete, male or female.
Williams’ run of success started with her win at the 2014 U.S. Open, her eighteenth Grand Slam title. The record for Grand Slam titles by a female player is legend Steffi Graf with 22. Serena went on to win The French Open, Australian Open, and Wimbledon. This completed yet another Serena Slam. She now had a chance to win all 4 Grand Slams in a calendar year, which hadn’t been done since 1988.
With all the praise and notoriety that Williams earned, she also got a lot of backlash, as some people think her actions on the court make a mockery of tennis with her intensity, on court celebrations, and her dress on the court. Williams’ personality and her competitiveness have always shined, but it was her success that called drew out critics. Williams drowned the hateful noise out and still continues to do so today. Unfortunately, she didn’t win at the U.S. Open in 2015 but ended up tying Graf’s Grand Slam titles record at 22 when she won at Wimbeldon this past month. She will now compete in the Rio Olympics and have a chance to break Graf’s record at the U.S. Open in September.
Throughout her whole career, through the injuries, losses and scrutiny, Williams has powered through and electrified a sport that needed her charisma. Williams is a perfect role-model for all young athletes of any sport, race, or gender. She competes with an unmatched ferocity, stays true to herself, and sticks up for what she believes in.
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