Serena Jameka Williams is an African-American tennis former World No. 1. She was born on September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan to Richard and Oracene. However, she was raised in California, where she began to train at an early age. In California, Serena won her first tournament at the age of 4 and continued competing thereafter alongside older sister Venus Williams, whom she succeeded to as the No. 1 player among 12 and below players in the said state. The Williams’ talent in tennis attracted nationwide attention from the press and advertisers. She and Venus Williams were later sent by his father to be trained in a tennis school by Rick Macci.
Serena turned pro only at the age of 14 in 1995, a year after her sister Venus debuted. In her first tournament, a non-WTA event, she lost in less than an hour in Quebec City.
It was in 1998 that Serena was able to penetrate the WTA top 20. In the same year, she lost in the second round of her first Grand Slam tournament to her sister Venus during the Australian Open.
Serena started to beat top seeds en route to the final in some titles in 1999, including then World No. 1 Martina Hingis at the U.S. Open. She ended the year as World No. 4. Her rank dropped to World No. 6 in 2000 and 2001.
In 2002, Serena won her first French Open and Wimbledon tournaments. Her 8 single titles gave her long coveted World No. 1 rank. Her left knee injury in 2003, made her back out from tennis events. Nevertheless, even after playing only 8 events that year, she still managed to rank as World No. 3 as she won both at the Australian Open and Wimbledon.
One memorable game by Serena was in 2004 when she unpredictably lost at the Wimbledon finals to newcomer 17-year old Maria Sharapova. From 2004 to 2006, Serena’s career turned sour due to a chronic left knee injury. She even fell out of top 100 for non-participation in WTA events due to her injury.
Serena managed to climb back to the top 10 in 2007 after winning her third Australian Open. In early 2008, Serena defeated Venus during the Tier II Bangalore, India Open, winning 8 out of 15 matches with her sister throughout their entire professional careers. She even managed to topple top seed and rank No. 1 Justine Henin at the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
Williams’ service is recognized as the best among the women, tying with sister Venus for the fastest service by a woman in a WTA tour for a 129 mph serve. She is also known for donning colorful and peculiar outfits in court.
In 2011, Williams started off her year with a foot injury which caused her to withdraw from the Hopman Cup as well as the Australian Open. As a result of these withdrawals, her ranks dropped to No. 12. Williams also received some heat after facing off against Samantha Stosur, after the former verbally abused the chair umpire. Afterwards, Williams cited that she will not be playing in the China Open as she has been suffering from an injured toe.
Having a career record of 490-103, Serena has already won 39 ATP titles, among which are 13 Grand Slam titles – 3 U.S. Opens (1999, 2002, 2008), 1 French Open (2002), 5 Australian Opens (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010) and 4 Wimbledon Championships (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010). She is at present the World No. 14.