Williams at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships
|Country (sports)||United States|
|Residence||Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, U.S.|
September 26, 1981 |
Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.
|Height||1.75 meters (5 ft 9 in)|
|Turned pro||September 24, 1995|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Coach(es)||Richard Williams (1994–)
Patrick Mouratoglou (2012–)
|Prize money||US$75,630,291 
(1st all-time among women tennis athletes and 3rd all-time among tennis athletes)
|Official website||Official website|
|Career record||743–124 (85.7%)|
|Career titles||69 WTA (5th in overall rankings)|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (July 8, 2002)|
|Current ranking||No. 1 (February 8, 2016)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015)|
|French Open||W (2002, 2013, 2015)|
|Wimbledon||W (2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015)|
|US Open||W (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014)|
|Tour Finals||W (2001, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014)|
|Career record||177–28 (86.34%)|
|Career titles||22 WTA, 0 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (June 7, 2010)|
|Current ranking||No. - (February 8, 2016)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||W (2001, 2003, 2009, 2010)|
|French Open||W (1999, 2010)|
|Wimbledon||W (2000, 2002, 2008, 2009, 2012)|
|US Open||W (1999, 2009)|
|Other doubles tournaments|
|Tour Finals||SF (2009)|
|Career record||27–4 (87.1%)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|Australian Open||F (1999)|
|French Open||F (1998)|
|US Open||W (1998)|
|Other mixed doubles tournaments|
|Fed Cup||W (1999), record 16–1|
|Hopman Cup||W (2003, 2008)|
|Last updated on: February 8, 2016.|
Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player who is ranked No. 1 in women's singles tennis. The Women's Tennis Association (WTA) has ranked her world No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions. She became the world No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and achieved this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013. She is the reigning champion of the French Open, Wimbledon and Olympic women's singles and doubles. Williams is popularly regarded as the greatest female tennis player of all time.[a]
Williams holds the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles combined amongst active players, male or female. Her record of 36 major titles puts her fifth on the all-time list and second in the open era with: 21 in singles, 13 in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four major singles titles simultaneously (2002–03 and 2014–15), the fifth woman ever to do so and only the third player, male or female, to achieve this record twice after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf. She is also the most recent player, together with her sister Venus Williams, to have held all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10).
Her total of 21 Grand Slam singles titles is third on the all-time list behind Margaret Court (24) and Steffi Graf (22), and second in the Open Era, behind only Graf. She is the only tennis player – female or male – to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments. She is also the only tennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades. She has won an all-time record 12 Grand Slam singles titles on hardcourt. Williams holds the Open Era record for most titles at the Australian Open (6) and shares the record for most titles at the US Open with Chris Evert (6).
She has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam tournament finals. Williams is also a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships. The arrival of the Williams sisters has been credited with launching a new era of power tennis in the women's game. Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women's singles and three in women's doubles, an all-time record shared with her sister Venus Williams.
Williams was the second-highest paid female athlete in 2015 earning $11.6 million in prize money and $13 million from endorsements. In December 2015 she was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Playing style
- 3 Professional career
- 3.1 1995–98: Professional debut
- 3.2 1999–2001: Becoming a top-10 player
- 3.3 2002–03: "Serena Slam"
- 3.4 2004–07: Injuries and the comeback
- 3.5 2008–10: Back to No. 1 and injuries
- 3.6 2011–13: Return to dominance, Career Golden Slam
- 3.7 2014–15: Second "Serena Slam"
- 3.8 2016–present
- 4 Rivalries
- 5 Match controversies
- 6 Off-court activities
- 7 Career statistics
- 8 Records and achievements
- 9 Filmography
- 10 See also
- 11 References
- 12 Works cited
- 13 External links
Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price, and is the youngest of Price's five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde, Lyndrea and Isha Price, and full sister Venus. When the children were young, the family moved to Compton, California, where Williams started playing tennis at the age of three. Her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus. While he and subsequently her mother, Oracene, have been the official coaches, other mentors who helped her learn the game included Richard Williams in Compton who would go on to found The Venus and Serena Williams Tennis/Tutorial Academy.
Williams' family moved from Compton to West Palm Beach, Florida, when she was nine so that she could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who would provide additional coaching. Macci spotted the exceptional talents of the sisters. He did not always agree with Williams' 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 take it slow and focus on school work. Another factor was racial, as he 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 No. 1 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."
Williams is primarily a baseline player and her game is built around taking immediate control of rallies with her powerful and consistent serve, return of serve, and forceful groundstrokes from both her forehand and backhand swings. Williams' forehand is considered to be among the most powerful shots in the women's game as is her double-handed backhand. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance, and uses the same open stance for her forehand. Williams' aggressive play, a "high risk" style, is balanced in part by her serve, which most say is the greatest in women's tennis history. She consistently projects great pace and placement with her serves and in the 2013 Australian Open, she had a peak serve speed of 128.6 mph (207.0 km/h) which is the third fastest all-time among female players (only Venus's 129 mph and Sabine Lisicki's 131 mph recorded speeds are faster). What makes her serve even more deadly is her ball placement and her ability to consistently place powerful shots with great accuracy. At the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, she hit a women's tournament record of 102 aces which was more than any of the men hit during the two weeks. Williams also possesses a very solid and powerful overhead. Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player, she also plays a strong defensive game. She has stated that her favorite surface is clay because it gives her extra time to set up her shot.
She has won three Grand Slam singles titles after saving match points, (2003 Australian Open versus Kim Clijsters, 2005 Australian Open versus Maria Sharapova, and 2009 Wimbledon versus Elena Dementieva), more than any other player in history, male or female. She also came back from a 3–5 deficit in the third set against Kim Clijsters in the 1999 US Open and went on to win her first Grand Slam singles title. In the 2012 US Open final against Victoria Azarenka, she was down 3–5 in the third set and found herself two points away from losing the match. Williams then proceeded to win the next 4 games and defeated Azarenka. In recent years, Williams has shown an ability to serve aces at critical moments. One of these instances was the 2013 French Open final, where in the last game of the match, she fired three aces, including one clocked at 123 mph (198 km/h) on match point. In the semi-finals of the 2015 French Open, Williams was ill and barely able to walk during changeovers, yet beat her opponent, Timea Bacsinszky, 6–0 in the third set. Another improbable win occurred in the third round of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, when she recovered from two breaks of service in the third set to defeat Great Britain's No. 1 female player, Heather Watson. Williams has bounced back from a set down to win in 33 Grand Slam matches.
1995–98: Professional debut
Williams' first professional event was in September 1995, at the age of 14 to counteract the forthcoming changes to age-eligibility rules, at the Bell Challenge. She lost in the first round of qualifying to 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 world No. 304, she upset world No. 7 Mary Pierce and world 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 world No. 5 Lindsay Davenport. She finished 1997 ranked world No. 99.
Williams began 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney. As a qualifier ranked world No. 96, she defeated world 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 sister Venus in the second round in the sisters' first professional match.
Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year, but lost all of them, including her first match against world No. 1 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 both Wimbledon and the US Open, to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Spîrlea, respectively. 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 world No. 20 in singles.
Battle of the Sexes: Karsten Braasch vs the Williams sisters
A 16-year-old Serena competed in a tennis "Battle of the Sexes", along with her sister Venus Williams, against Karsten Braasch at the 1998 Australian Open. At the time Braasch was ranked 203rd. The Williams sisters had claimed they could beat any man outside the top 200, and he accepted the challenge. Not known for having an ideal training regimen, Braasch nonetheless beat both Williams' sisters, playing a single set against each. The score vs Serena was 6-1 and vs Venus 6–2. Braasch said afterwards, "500 and above, no chance." The girls later tweaked the number to beating men outside the top 350.
1999–2001: Becoming a top-10 player
Williams lost in the third round of the 1999 Australian Open to Sandrine Testud. Williams won her first professional singles title when she defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final of the Open Gaz de France. With Venus also winning the IGA Superthrift Classic that day, the pair became the first sisters to win professional tournaments in the same week. A month later, Williams won her first Tier I singles title at the Evert Cup, defeating Steffi Graf in the final. At the Lipton International Players Championships, Williams had her 16-match winning streak ended by Venus in the first all-sister singles final in WTA history and made her top-10 debut at world No. 9. She then lost in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open and the German Open, and the third round of the French Open, where she and Venus won the women's doubles title. She then missed Wimbledon because of injury. When she returned to the tour, Williams won a Fed Cup singles match, won the JPMorgan Chase Open, beating Julie Halard-Decugis in the final. She then defeated in succession grand slam tournament champions Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martínez, Monica Seles, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport to reach the US Open final where she defeated world No. 1 Hingis to become the second African-American woman after Althea Gibson in 1958 to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this tournament. To complete 1999, Williams won a doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Russia. Williams ended the year ranked world No. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams started 2000 by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Elena Likhovtseva. She failed to defend her titles in Paris and Indian Wells, although she did win the Faber Grand Prix. Williams missed the French Open because of injury. She returned at Wimbledon, where she lost to Venus in the semifinals, but they won the doubles title at the event. Williams successfully defended her title in Los Angeles, defeating Davenport in the final. She reached the final of the Du Maurier Open where an injury forced her to retire from her match with Hingis. Her defense of the US Open title ended when she lost in the quarterfinals to Davenport. Williams teamed with Venus to win the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics in September. She ended the year winning the Toyota Princess Cup. She finished the year ranked world No. 6.
Williams began 2001 losing to Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals of both Sydney and the Australian Open. Williams and her sister won the doubles title at the latter tournament, becoming only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles during their career, completing a "Career Grand Slam". Her next event was the Pacific Life Open, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However the final was marred by the behavior of the crowd towards Williams and her family. The crowd were incensed at the perceived match fixing of games involving the family after Venus withdrew before their semifinal. Neither Williams or her sister entered the tournament for fourteen years until Williams entered in 2015 as a wild-card (and the top seed). The following week at the Ericsson Open, Williams lost to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals. She then lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati at the French Open and Wimbledon. This was the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament at which Williams had exited in the quarterfinals. At the North American hard-court season, she lost in the quarterfinals of Los Angeles against Monica Seles, then captured her second title of the year at the Rogers Cup, defeating Capriati in the final. Williams reached the final of the US Open, losing to sister Venus. That was the first Grand Slam tournament final contested by two sisters during the open era. At the 2001-ending Sanex Championships, Williams won the championship by walkover when Davenport withdrew before the start of the final because of a knee injury. Williams finished 2001 at world No. 6 for the second straight year.
2002–03: "Serena Slam"
Injury forced Williams to retire from her semifinal match at the Medibank International Sydney and to withdraw from the 2002 Australian Open. She won her first title of the year in Scottsdale, Arizona, defeating world No. 2 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Miami Masters for the first time, becoming one of three players in the open era to defeat the world's top 3 at one tournament, after beating world No. 3 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, world No. 2 Venus in the semifinals, and world No. 1 Capriati in the final. Her straight set win over Venus was her second career win over her sister. Williams played three clay-court tournaments before the 2002 French Open. Her first tournament was at Charleston, where she was the third seed. Williams reached the quarterfinals losing to Patty Schnyder. She reached her first clay-court final in May, at the Eurocard German Open losing to Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak. Williams went on to win her first clay court title at the Italian Open, defeating Capriati in the semifinals and Henin in the final. This raised her ranking to a new high of No. 3. Williams was the third seed at the French Open, where she claimed her first title by defeating defending champion Capriati in the semifinals, and Venus in the final to win her second Grand Slam tournament title. As a result, Williams rose to a career high of No. 2, second only to Venus. At the 2002 Wimbledon Championships, Williams won the title for the first time, defeating Venus to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set for the first time in her career. This victory earned Williams the world No. 1 ranking, dethroning her sister and becoming only the third African-American woman to hold that ranking. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at the tournament, the fifth Grand Slam doubles title for the pair. Williams played just one tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the quarterfinals of the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles to Chanda Rubin, ending a 21-match winning streak. As the top-seeded player at the US Open, Williams reached the final where again she defeated her sister to win the title for the second time. Williams won two consecutive singles titles in the fall, defeating Kim Clijsters to win the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo, and Anastasia Myskina to win the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany. She reached the final at the year-end Home Depot Championships, where she lost to fifth-seeded Clijsters in straight sets, ending an 18-match winning streak. Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 W/L record, eight singles titles, and the world No. 1 ranking. She was the first African-American (male or female) to end a year with that ranking since Althea Gibson in 1958. She was the first woman to win three Grand Slam tournament titles in one year since Hingis in 1997. Her three consecutive Grand Slam titles to close 2002 also made Williams only the third player in tennis history (male or female) to win the "Surface Slam", three Slam titles on three surfaces in the same calendar year, after Navratilova (1984) and Graf (1993, 1995, 1996).
At the 2003 Australian Open, Williams went on to reach the semifinals for the first time, where she recovered from 5–1 down in the third set and saved two match points, before defeating Clijsters. She faced Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament final and won to become the sixth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Margaret Court, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf. She also became the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, joining Maureen Connolly Brinker, Court, Graf, and Navratilova. This feat was dubbed the "Serena Slam" by the press. The Williams sisters won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured singles titles at the Open Gaz de France and the Sony Ericsson Open. Williams' winning streak came to an end when she lost the final of the Family Circle Cup to Henin, her first loss of the year after 21 wins. She also lost to Mauresmo in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. Despite these losses, Williams was the top seed at the French Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Henin, marking Williams' first loss in a Grand Slam tournament since 2001. The match was controversial, as Williams questioned Henin's sportsmanship, and spectators applauded Williams' errors. Williams rebounded from the loss at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Henin in the semifinals and Venus in the final. This was Williams' second consecutive Wimbledon title and her sixth Grand Slam singles title overall. This was her last tournament of the year after pulling out of three events in the USA, Williams underwent surgery on the quadriceps tendon in her knee at the start of August. Initially she was expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
2004–07: Injuries and the comeback
After eight months away from the tour during which her desire was questioned, Williams began her comeback at the Nasdaq-100 Open in Miami, where she made a triumphant return as she won the title. This was the third consecutive year that Williams had won this tournament. Although ranked world No. 7, she was seeded second at the French Open. Williams lost to Capriati in the quarterfinals. This was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001. She was seeded first at Wimbledon, even though her ranking had dropped to world No. 10. She reached the final, where she was defeated by 13th-seeded Sharapova in straight sets. This loss caused her ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since 1999. Williams reached her third final of the year at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles on hard courts where she lost to Lindsay Davenport which was her first loss to the American since the 2000 US Open. She returned for the US Open, where she was seeded third even though she was ranked world No. 11. She lost there in the quarterfinals to Capriati in three sets in controversial fashion. Williams won her second title of the year at the China Open, defeating US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Williams qualified for the WTA Tour Championships. In the round-robin phase of the tournament, she defeated Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina, but lost to Davenport. She lost to Sharapova in the final where Williams suffered an abdominal injury that caused her to serve around 65 MPH. Williams finished 2004 ranked world No. 7, but did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time since 2001.
At the 2005 Australian Open, Williams rejected suggestions that she and sister Venus were a declining force in tennis, following Venus's early exit at the tournament. Williams saved three match points in defeating Sharapova 8–6 in the third set of their semi final. In the final, Williams defeated top seed Davenport to win her second Australian Open singles title and seventh Grand Slam singles title, winning 12 of the last 15 games. The win moved Williams back to world No. 2, and she stated that she was targeting the number one spot. Williams completed just two tournaments between the Australian Open and Wimbledon, losing to Venus in Miami and at Internazionali BNL d'Italia to Francesca Schiavone as Williams suffered a series of retirements and withdraws. A reoccurring ankle injury causing her to miss the French Open. She returned for Wimbledon as the fourth-seeded player, but was defeated in the third round by world No. 85 Jill Craybas. At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams played just one more match the remainder of the year, a loss to world No. 127 Sun Tiantian at the tournament in Beijing. She failed to qualify for the year-end championship for the first time since 1998. She finished the year 2005 ranked world No. 11, her first time finishing outside the top 10 since 1998.
Williams started 2006 by participating in the Australian Open. Despite being the defending champion, she lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the third round. After the tournament, Williams told the press that she was injured, blaming a lack of fitness and a knee injury for keeping her off the court. However, in her biography, Serena claims that she was actually suffering from depression. After she had shut herself off from the world for a period, her sisters held a type of intervention which made Williams see her therapist daily. After a chance meeting with a young girl who idolized Serena, she signed up to play in Cincinnati. During her conversation with the girl, Williams felt inspired and was informed that she could be even better at tennis. Williams went home and watched some of her old matches and started to believe that she could win again. She had been away from the tour for almost six months and had slipped to 139 in the world, the lowest ranking Williams had held since 1997. On her return, Williams defeated Myskina and Bethanie Mattek, before losing in the semifinals to Vera Zvonareva. She also reached the semifinals in Los Angeles, losing to Janković in straight sets. At the US Open, Williams needed a wildcard to enter the tournament, as her ranking at the cut-off time was 139th in the world, outside the automatic 102. However her ranking had improved to 79th by the time the tournament came around. She lost to top-seeded Mauresmo in the fourth round. She did not play again in 2006, ending the year ranked world No. 95, her lowest year-end ranking since 1997.
Williams began 2007 with renewed confidence, stating her intention to return to the top of the rankings, a comment 1987 Wimbledon men's singles champion and commentator Pat Cash branded "deluded." Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Hobart, Australia, a warm-up for the Australian Open. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her world No. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as "out of shape." Williams experienced a huge amount of pressure on herself prior to the tournament, coming from her fans and the press as well as Serena herself about her weight, focus and needing a good showing. But just before her first match, a representative from Nike paid Williams a visit in the players' lounge, informing her that if she didn't perform to her accustomed level, the company might drop her. Williams claimed that Nike's ultimatum meant that she would have to reach the quarterfinals at least. The distraction from Nike did not put Williams off, as she lost just three games to Mara Santangelo and defeated Anne Kremer in straight sets. By this point, a blister had developed on Williams' foot and she had contracted a cold. In the third round, Williams found herself two points away from going home against Nadia Petrova, but fought back to win in three sets, which was her first win over a top-10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. Williams then made it all the way to the final, defeating Janković, Pe'er and Vaidišová. Williams described them as "good players. Strong players. Players who certainly didn't expect an overweight, out-of-shape, has been champion like me to give them a game." Williams also found herself two points from going out against Peer before turning it around. By the time Williams had reached the final, the cold and blister had gone, but Tracy Austin in her tournament analysis stated that Serena had a great tournament, but the ride was over and that Sharapova would have no trouble with Williams. Serena thought it was mean and unnecessary and used it as motivation with all the other criticism. In the final, Williams lost just three games against Maria Sharapova winning her first title at any tournament since winning the 2005 Australian Open. Williams became the first player since Chris O'Neil to win the title whilst not being seeded, and claimed her third Australian Open and eighth Grand Slam singles title overall. The win elevated Williams to 14th in the rankings. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased half-sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described in the press as "one of the best performances of her career" and "arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women's tennis." In her post match interview, Williams took a swipe at her critics, stating that she had proved them wrong.
Williams won the Sony Ericsson Open for the fourth time after defeating Justine Henin. Williams had to record a come-from-behind win after being whitewashed in the first set and saving two match points in the second. Williams played for her country in the Fed Cup for the first time since 2003 in a tie against Belgium. Williams won her opening match, but withdrew from her second, because of a knee injury. At the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Henin. During her fourth round match against Hantuchová at Wimbledon, Williams collapsed from an acute muscle spasm at 5–5 in the second set. After a medical timeout and holding serve to force a tiebreak, rain forced play to be suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned, Williams won the match in three sets. Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with Henin, whilst suffering from the injuries sustained in the previous round. At the US Open, Williams lost her third consecutive Grand Slam singles quarterfinal to Henin. Williams reached the final of Kremlin Cup, losing to Elena Dementieva. Williams qualified for the WTA Championships, but retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze with a knee injury and subsequently withdrew from the tournament. Williams finished 2007 as World No. 7 and the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
2008–10: Back to No. 1 and injuries
Williams started 2008 by participating on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup with Mardy Fish. At the Australian Open she lost in the quarterfinals to Jelena Janković, her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women's doubles event, she and Venus were defeated in the quarterfinals. Williams withdrew from her next three scheduled tournaments because of an urgent need for dental surgery. Williams then won three consecutive singles titles at Bangalore and her fifth Miami title, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams won at the Family Circle Cup, her first clay-court title since the 2002 French Open. Her 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of Berlin. Williams withdrew in Rome in the quarterfinals against Alizé Cornet because of a back injury. Williams was the only former winner of the French Open in the draw, but lost in the third round to Katarina Srebotnik.
At Wimbledon, Williams reached the finals for the first time in four years but lost to her older sister Venus in straight sets, in their first Slam final since 2003. Serena and Venus teamed to win the women's doubles title in their first Grand Slam women's doubles title since 2003. Williams played at Stanford, but retired 6–2, 3–1 down with a left knee injury from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak. The injury forced her to withdraw from Los Angeles. At the Olympics in Beijing, Williams lost to Dementieva in the quarterfinals. Serena and Venus won the gold medal in doubles, beating Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final. Williams at the US Open, defeated sister Venus, Safina and Jelena Janković in the final. This was her third US Open and ninth Grand Slam singles title. The victory returned her to the world No. 1 ranking for the first time since 2003. At the Year-End Championships she defeated Safina and lost to Venus in her round-robin matches, but withdrew from her match against Dementieva, citing a stomach muscle injury. She ended 2008 ranked world No. 2 and with four singles titles, her strongest performance in both respects since 2003.
Williams began 2009 at the Medibank International losing in the semifinals to Elena Dementieva. At the Australian Open, she claimed her tenth Grand Slam singles title by defeating Dinara Safina in the final in 59 minutes. This win returned her to the world No. 1 ranking and resulted in her becoming the all-time career prize money leader in women's sports, overtaking golfer Annika Sörenstam. In women's doubles, with Venus, they captured the title for the third time. At the Open GDF Suez, Williams withdrew before her semifinal with Dementieva because of a knee injury. Williams then played at Dubai, losing to Venus in the semifinals.
At the Sony Ericsson Open Williams, hampered with ankle and quad injuries, was upset in the final by Victoria Azarenka. This was the first of four consecutive losses for Williams, the longest losing streak of her career. She was defeated in her opening matches at Barcelona, Rome, and Madrid. Despite not having won a match on clay in 2009 before the French Open, she lost in the quarterfinals to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. This ended her 18-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak. She rebounded at Wimbledon, saving a match point in defeating fourth seeded Dementieva in the semifinals. In the final, Serena defeated her sister Venus to win her third Wimbledon title and her 11th Grand Slam singles title. Williams and Venus teamed to win the women's doubles title at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year, their ninth Grand Slam tournament title in women's doubles.
As a US Open preparation, Williams played at Cincinnati losing in the third round, followed by a semifinal defeat at the Rogers Cup. At the US Open, she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters amid controversy involving shouting at a line judge when defending match point, an offense which cost Williams the point and consequently the match. She continued in the doubles competition, teaming up with Venus to win their third Grand Slam doubles title of the year and tenth of their career. Williams won all three of her round-robin matches at the year-end WTA Tour Championships, defeating Venus, Dementieva, and Kuznetsova, saving a match point against Venus. She then advanced to the final, when Wozniacki retired from their semifinal match. In the final, Williams defeated Venus for her second singles title at this event. Williams finished the year ranked world No. 1 for the second time in her career, having played in 16 tournaments, more than any other year. She also broke the record previously set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one year, with Williams earning $6,545,586. In doubles, the Williams sisters finished the year ranked world No. 2, despite playing only six tournaments as a pair. She won five Grand Slam tournament titles, putting her total major titles at 23. Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. She also was the ITF World Champion in singles and doubles.
In 2010, Williams' first scheduled tournament was in Sydney, losing in the final to Elena Dementieva. At the Australian Open, Williams was the defending champion in both singles and doubles. She reached the final, where she defeated Justine Henin for her twelfth Grand Slam singles title. In doubles, Serena and Venus successfully defended their title by defeating Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final. Williams withdrew with a leg injury from her next events. She returned at the Rome Masters losing to Jelena Janković in the semifinals. At Madrid, she fell to Nadia Petrova in the third round and partnered Venus to win the doubles title. At the French Open, she lost to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. She and Venus were the top seeds in the doubles event and won the title, defeating Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam doubles title and improved their doubles ranking to world No. 1.
Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final without facing a break point and breaking the serve of Zvonareva three times. She did not lose a set in the tournament. After the match, Martina Navratilova said that Williams is in the top five of all the women's tennis players in all of history, which she said that "it's not just about how many Slams you win or how many tournaments you win—it's just your game overall. And she's definitely got all the goods." Serena was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Venus, winning the last two years. They lost in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Zvonareva. In Munich on July 7, Williams stepped on broken glass while in a restaurant, and the injury caused her to miss the rest of the year. She ended the year ranked No. 4 in singles, despite having played only six tournaments, and No. 11 in doubles after four tournaments. On March 2, 2011, she confirmed that she had suffered a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.
2011–13: Return to dominance, Career Golden Slam
Williams finally made a return to the practice court in March 2011. She made her first appearance on the WTA tour in almost a year in Eastbourne. Williams lost in round two to Vera Zvonareva, in a match that lasted over three hours. Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion. She reached the round of 16, where she lost to Marion Bartoli. After the loss her ranking dropped to 169. Williams won her first titles since her return to tennis triumphing in Stanford and Toronto. At the Western & Southern Open, Serena defeated Lucie Hradecká, only to withdraw the next day, citing a right toe injury. She then played at the US Open going all the way to the final losing to Samantha Stosur, during a match which featured her verbally abusing the chair umpire. The US Open final turned out to be Williams' last match in 2011, and she ended the year ranked world No. 12 with 2 titles and with a 22–3 record for the season. She only participated in six tournaments throughout the season.
Williams started the 2012 season at the Brisbane International, however, during her match against Bojana Jovanovski, she injured her left ankle when serving for the match. As a result, Williams was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Next she participated at the Australian Open where she was upset by Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round. After a month layoff Williams returned to competition in Miami losing in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki. Williams then won consecutive titles at Charleston and Madrid beating Lucie Šafářová and Victoria Azarenka, but withdrew from her semifinal match against Li Na in Rome citing a lower back injury. Williams suffered her first ever loss in the opening round of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open against Virginie Razzano. Williams notched up a 33–1 record for the second half of the season winning five titles in the process. Williams won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, her fourteenth major title; setting a serving record of 24 aces by a female in a match as well as having the most aces, male or female, during the tournament (103). Williams returned to America to successfully defend her title in Stanford beating Coco Vandeweghe in the final. Serena then returned to Wimbledon to represent her country at the Olympic Games where she won gold. Williams undefeated streak ended with a loss in Cincinnati to Angelique Kerber. In New York City, Williams went on to win her fourth US Open singles title and her 15th career major title overall beating Azarenka in the final. Williams ended the season by competing at the WTA Championships and went undefeated throughout the tournament to win the event for her third title. Serena Williams was voted WTA Player of the Year for the fourth time. Based on her brilliant show in 2012, Serena was also named International Tennis Federation World Champion. Williams also returned to doubles competitions with Venus; in the pair's first tournament since 2010 Wimbledon, they claimed their fifth Wimbledon doubles title and the 13th grand slam doubles title. The pair successfully defended their Olympic doubles title which meant that they became the only tennis players to win four gold medals.
Williams' first tournament of the 2013 season was in Brisbane, where she won the title without dropping a set. Williams was upset in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Australian Open by fellow American player Sloane Stephens. By virtue of defeating Petra Kvitová in Doha, Williams returned to the world No. 1 position for the sixth time in her career and became the oldest woman in the Open Era to hold the ranking. Williams went on to lose to Victoria Azarenka in the final. In Miami, Williams lost a set to Maria Sharapova, in the final, for the first time since 2008. However, this setback did not stop Williams who recorded her seventieth come-from-behind win. The win made Williams a six-time champion in Miami breaking the record she held with Steffi Graf and became only the fourth woman in the open era to have won a tournament at least six times. Williams successfully defended her Charleston title winning it for the third time overall. Williams won her fiftieth career singles title in Madrid, defeating Sharapova in the final. Williams then played Rome, where she won the title without dropping a set, defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final to take her second title. Williams only dropped ten games in reaching the quarterfinals at Roland Garros. There, she played Svetlana Kuznetsova and lost her first set of the tournament. In the semi final Williams only lost one game when she defeated Sara Errani, something seven-time French Open champion Chris Evert described as the finest female performance on clay she had ever seen. Williams defeated Sharapova to claim her second Roland Garros title, her sixteenth grand slam tournament title overall. She became the fourth woman in the Open era after Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffi Graf to win each Grand Slam tournament title on at least two occasions. At the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, she advanced easily to the fourth round before being upset by eventual finalist Sabine Lisicki in three sets. After Wimbledon, Williams won the Swedish Open by defeating Johanna Larsson in the final, the tournament win marked the first occasion that she had won an International level title. By winning the tournament this meant that Williams had managed to be undefeated on clay during the season.
Williams won her third Rogers Cup title in Toronto beating Sorana Cîrstea in the final. Williams reached the final of the Western & Southern Open for the first time but lost to Azarenka. At the 2013 US Open, Williams began as the top seed and defending champion. She reached the final—a rematch of the 2012 final against Azarenka—and won in three sets, capturing her 17th Grand Slam singles title. Williams became the oldest US Open champion in the Open Era and pushed her career prize money past $50 million. After the US Open, Williams headed to Beijing where she beat Jelena Janković to win the China Open for her 10th title of 2013. Williams went through the WTA championships undefeated winning the final against Li Na, to become the first person to defend the title since Justine Henin in 2007. Williams won her eleventh title of the year becoming the eighth player to win eleven tournaments or more in a year and the first since Martina Hingis in 1997. Additionally Williams became the oldest person to win the WTA Championships and the fourth player to win the event four times or more. By winning the championship Williams became the first woman to win more than ten million dollars in a season and with her total of $12,385,572, only Rafael Nadal, in 2013 and Novak Djokovic, in 2011, 2012 and 2013, have earned more money in a single season. Williams finished as the year end world No. 1 for the third time, becoming the oldest No. 1 player in WTA history. She was also named the 2013 ITF World Champion the fourth time that she has been given the World Champion's crown. Williams received two prizes at the 2013 ESPY Awards. Williams won Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player. Williams is just the fourth person to win Best Female Athlete on two occasions and she won Best Female Tennis player for a record sixth time. In late December 2013, Williams capped off her year by receiving the Associated Press (AP) 2013 Female Athlete of the Year award, her third AP award after 2002 and 2009. Only two women, Chris Evert and Babe Didrikson, have been chosen more often as AP Athlete of the Year since the annual awards were first handed out in 1931.
2014–15: Second "Serena Slam"
Williams defended her title at the Brisbane International by defeating world No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in the final. At the Australian Open she ended up losing to former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round, later revealing that she had considered withdrawing from the tournament even before her third round match because of a back injury. At the 2014 Dubai Tennis Championships Williams lost her semi-final match to Alizé Cornet in straight sets. Williams next headed to the Miami Open where she won her record seventh title with a straight-sets victory over world No. 2 Li Na. Serena lost to Jana Čepelová in the second round of the Family Circle Cup. She made it to the quarterfinals at the Mutua Madrid Open before withdrawing with a left thigh injury. Williams won her third title of the season at the 2014 Internazionali BNL d'Italia. She was then handed the worst loss of her Grand Slam tournament career by Garbiñe Muguruza, who defeated Serena losing just 4 games in two sets, in the second round of the 2014 French Open. Alizé Cornet defeated Williams for the second time in the year in the third round of Wimbledon, thus handing Serena her earliest Wimbledon exit since 2005. Serena was then forced to withdraw from the doubles event alongside sister Venus Williams while trailing 0–3 in the second round. A disoriented Serena hit 4 consecutive doubles faults and was having trouble with both her ball toss and movement before being removed from what has been described as one of the most unusual scenes ever seen in tennis.
Williams rebounded by winning 19 out of her next 20 matches (losing only to sister Venus in the semifinals of the Rogers Cup). This streak include titles at the Bank of the West Classic as well as her first Western & Southern Open title and her third consecutive and sixth overall US Open singles title which she won without having dropped a set. With this victory Serena tied Chris Evert for most singles titles won by a woman at the US Open in the Open Era. Williams also tied Evert and Martina Navratilova's 18 major singles titles won in the Open Era. By virtue of having won both the US Open and the US Open Series, Williams collected $4,000,000 – the biggest payday in tennis history. At the Wuhan Open a viral illness forced her to retire while up a break in the first set against Alizé Cornet. Cornet thus became the first woman since Justine Henin in 2007 to record three victories over Williams in one year. At the China Open Williams retired prior to her quarterfinal match versus Samantha Stosur. At the 2014 WTA Finals in Singapore Serena advanced to the final for the third consecutive year despite having equaled her career worst loss in her second round robin match versus Simona Halep. Williams won her fifth WTA Finals title by avenging her loss to Halep in the championship match for her seventh title of the year. Serena finished the year ranked world no. 1 for the fourth time in her career. She held the no. 1 ranking for the entire calendar year, a feat not accomplished since Steffi Graf in 1996. She was also voted WTA Player of the Year and ITF World Champion for the third consecutive year (sixth year overall).
Williams began the 2015 season by representing the United States alongside John Isner at the Hopman Cup. The American pair lost the final to the Poland. At the Australian Open Williams defeated Maria Sharapova of Russia for the sixteenth consecutive time to claim her 6th Australian Open singles title and 19th career Grand Slam singles title, winning the title on her third match point in the second set. With this victory Williams surpassed both Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for second most Grand Slam singles titles won in the Open Era. The title was also her sixth Grand Slam singles title since turning 30 years of age, three more than the next closest to do so (Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova with three each). She is the only player in history to win all four majors at least once after having turned 30. The following weekend, Serena and sister Venus traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina to face Argentina in a World Group II tie for Fed Cup. She played and won her only match against María Irigoyen to help Team USA to a 4–1 win over Argentina. Williams announced that she would be competing at the Indian Wells Masters ending her 14-year boycott of the event. Upon her return Williams received a standing ovation from the crowd and won her first match in straight sets. She reached the semifinals, where she was due to face world No. 3 Simona Halep for a place in the final, but was forced to withdraw because of a knee injury. By virtue of having defeated Sabine Lisicki in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, Serena became only the eighth woman in the Open Era to record 700 match wins in her career. This also made her one of only three active players to have won 700 or more matches in singles, the others being Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In the semifinals she won against Halep to advance to her tenth final at the event, where she won a record eighth title and extended her winning streak to 21 matches by beating Carla Suárez Navarro.
As preparation for the clay court season (and to ensure her eligibility for the 2016 Summer Olympics), Williams travelled to Brindisi, Italy, to face Italy's team for a place in the Fed Cup's World Group. Williams lost the decisive doubles match alongside Alison Riske to Sara Errani and Flavia Pennetta and as a result the United States were relegated to World Group II. It was Williams' first loss in the Fed Cup. However, she maintained her perfect record in singles by defeating Camila Giorgi and Errani. The week of April 20 marked Serena's 114th consecutive week ranked world No. 1, the third-longest run in WTA history behind Steffi Graf's 186 weeks and Martina Navratilova's 156. Williams suffered her first defeat of the season in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open to world No. 4 Petra Kvitová. This loss ended a 27 match winning streak for Williams as well as a 50 match winning streak at Premier Mandatory events and also a 19 match winning streak at the particular event. Williams played one match at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia before withdrawing from the tournament with an elbow injury. By virtue of having defeated Victoria Azarenka in the third round of the French Open, Williams became the first woman in the Open Era to win 50 matches at all four of the majors. Williams then defeated Sloane Stephens to reach her 40th Grand Slam singles quarterfinal. Serena won her next match easily, but had to come back from a set down in the semifinals versus Timea Bacsinszky for the fourth time in five matches to reach the final. She would go on to defeat Lucie Šafářová from the Czech Republic in three sets to win her 3rd French Open and 20th Grand Slam singles title. The win made her only the third person in history to win each major at least three times, joining Margaret Court and Steffi Graf. She's the first player to win three straight majors since she did it herself during the Serena Slam. She also became the first player to win the Australian-French Open double since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.
Williams completed her second "Serena Slam" (winning all four majors in a row) by winning the 2015 Wimbledon Championships – her 6th Wimbledon and 21st Grand Slam singles title overall. Her path to victory at Wimbledon was particularly challenging. She was down a double break in the third round versus Heather Watson and two points from defeat twice before rallying for the win and becoming the first player to qualify for the WTA Finals (the earliest that a player had qualified since the event switched to the round-robin format in 2003). Williams then defeated three former number 1 players – Venus Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova—in succession to advance to the final. Awaiting her there was 21-year-old Garbiñe Muguruza, who had previously handed Williams the worst Grand Slam tournament defeat of her career at the 2014 French Open. Williams defeated Muguruza in a tight two-setter. The victory made her the oldest woman in the Open Era to win a grand slam singles title, in addition of having the distinction of being the oldest ladies' singles champion of all of the grand slam tournaments. It also was her eighth consecutive victory in Grand Slam singles finals appearances, breaking Steffi Graf's Open Era record of seven from 1995 through 1999 and, on the men's side, tying Pete Sampras' Open Era record of eight from 1995 through 2000. Her 21 major singles titles equaled the tally of the rest of the women's tour, combined. The week of July 13 marked the first time in WTA history that the No. 1 player had more than twice as many points as No. 2. Following her win at Wimbledon, Williams was awarded with her 7th ESPY for Best Female Tennis Player.
Williams played one match at the Swedish Open in Båstad before withdrawing with an elbow injury. She was the defending champion at the Bank of the West Classic but withdrew from the tournament in order for her elbow to get better. Williams had her 19 match winning streak ended by 18-year-old Swiss Belinda Bencic, the world No. 20, in three tight sets in the semifinals of the Canadian Open. It was her second defeat of the year and first on hard courts since the 2014 WTA Finals. The next week Williams defended her title at the Western & Southern Open with a straight sets victory over world No. 3 Simona Halep for her 69th WTA title, breaking a tie with Evonne Goolagong for standalone fifth-most WTA titles won. Williams' attempt at capturing the "Grand Slam" (winning all four majors in a calendar year) came to an end in the semifinals of the US Open, where she lost to Roberta Vinci in three sets. The loss has been described by some as one of the biggest upsets in tennis history. Nonetheless, Williams secured the year-end No. 1 ranking with her results at the tournament. On October 1, Williams called an end to her season, stating that she had been injured for most of the year and wanted to address her fitness issues. Prior to the announcement, coach Patrick Mouratoglou hinted that Williams might not play again in 2015 due to a lack of motivation and disappointment following her loss at the Open. On October 5, Williams surpassed Chris Evert for third-most weeks ranked world no. 1. Williams held the no. 1 ranking the entire season for the second consecutive year, finishing there for the fifth time in her career. She was voted WTA Player of the Year for the seventh time in her career. On December 14, Sports Illustrated announced Williams as their Sportsperson of the Year. She thus became the third solo woman, and first since 1983, to receive the award. Williams was also named ITF World Champion for the sixth time in her career. Soon after, it was announced that she was voted Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press for the fourth time.
Williams withdrew from the Hopman Cup after retiring from her singles match against Australia Gold with inflammation of her left knee. After reaching the Australian Open final without dropping a set, she was upset by first time Slam finalist Angelique Kerber in three sets. This marked William's first ever loss in the final of the Australian Open, as well as her first three-set loss in the final of a Grand Slam. She had previously been 6–0 and 8–0 respectively.
The week of February 8 marked Serena's 156th consecutive week ranked world No. 1, tying Martina Navratilova for the second-longest run in WTA history behind Steffi Graf's 186.
Serena vs. Venus
Williams has played older sister Venus in 27 professional matches since 1998. Overall, Serena is 16–11 against her sister. Serena has played Venus 14 times in Grand Slam singles tournaments and 13 times in other tournaments (including 11 finals). They have met in eight Grand Slam tournament finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, which was the first time in the open era that the same two players had contested four consecutive major finals.
Williams vs. Hingis
Williams leads series 7–6. One of Williams' first rivalries was with Martina Hingis, who turned pro less than one year before her (Hingis in October 1994, Williams in 1995) They first played each other at the 1998 Miami Open where Hingis won in three sets. All but one of their matches was played on a hard court with the exception being a contest on clay in Rome 1999, which Hingis won in straight sets. Their last match took place at the 2002 Miami Open with Williams winning for the loss of just four games. Hingis was forced to briefly leave the sport citing ankle injuries.
Williams vs. Capriati
Williams leads series 10–7. Once considered one of the best rivalries in women's tennis, the competition between Williams and Capriati was stiff with 12 out of their 17 meetings going to three sets. The rivalry, starting in 1999, started off one sided with Capriati winning four of their first five matches. Serena would then go on to win the next eight. Williams and Capriati played with similar styles, both known for using their power and athleticism to gain quick advantages in points.
Williams vs. Henin
Williams leads series 8–6. Henin and Williams met 14 times, 5 of which were in tournament finals. In grand slams they have faced each other 7 times with Justine leading 4–3. Opposite personalities and styles of play are often cited as what made their rivalry entertaining. In the semifinals of the 2003 French Open, when at 4–2, 30–0 on Williams' serve in the third set, Henin raised her hand to indicate she was not ready to receive and Williams then put her serve into the net. The umpire did not see Henin raise her hand and thus did not allow Williams a first serve. Williams lost the game and would go on to lose the match 6–2, 4–6, 7–5. Their last match took place in the final of the 2010 Australian Open where Williams won in three sets, earning her 12th Grand Slam title.
Accusations of match fixing
When the Williams sisters both entered the top ten and started meeting in tournaments, unsubstantiated rumors of match fixing started to circulate. John McEnroe, while commenting on the 2000 Wimbledon semifinal between the two sisters, said that "Serena may not be allowed to win. Richard may have something to say about this." Elena Dementieva, a fellow professional player, said during a post match interview after losing to Venus at the Indian Wells quarterfinals in 2001, that Richard Williams decided the results between the two sisters.
2001 Indian Wells
After injuring herself in the quarterfinal match against Dementieva, Venus Williams defaulted to Serena in the semifinals. Although Venus told the tournament official hours beforehand that she would have to default, the official word was not given until 10 minutes before the scheduled start (in the hopes that Venus would change her mind), angering fans who had come to see the match. Consequently, during the final against Kim Clijsters two days later, the spectators jeered Serena from when she first took the court for warm-up through the final trophy presentation including cheering double faults and errors with no intervention from the tournament officials. At the Ericsson Open the following week, Richard Williams said racist comments were made to him in the stands, and the tournament director refused to offer Serena an apology for how she was treated. As a result, neither sister played the tournament even though since 2009 it had become a mandatory stop on the WTA tour. In 2015, Serena decided to end her 14-year boycott and entered the tournament.
2004 US Open
In her 2004 U.S. Open quarterfinal match against Jennifer Capriati, an overrule was made by chair umpire Mariana Alves in Capriati's favor, even though later video review showed this to be an error (as Williams' shot was inside the court). There were calls that incorrectly went against Williams during the match, including late in the third set which prevented her from rallying from a break down. Williams attempted to argue a couple of calls, but was not successful. Capriati won the match, but tournament officials dismissed the umpire from the tournament, and she was suspended. The controversy renewed calls for the adoption of technology like the MacCam and Hawk-Eye systems.
2009 US Open
In 2009, Williams was again noted for her on-court behavior, this time a match against Kim Clijsters in the 2009 U.S. Open semifinal round. At the end of the first set, Williams slammed her racquet on the court in frustration over losing the set. She was given a warning, with a potential second violation carrying a one-point penalty. While trailing 4–6, 5–6, 15–30, Williams' second serve was called a foot fault, resulting in two match points for Clijsters. Williams gestured with her racquet to the lineswoman who had made the call and yelled at her, with profanities and a threat to shove a tennis ball down the lineswoman's throat. During the subsequent on-court conference between the chair umpire, the lineswoman, US Open officials, and Williams, a television microphone picked up Williams saying to the lineswoman, "I didn't say I would kill you! Are you serious?" The incident resulted in Williams being penalized a point for unsportsmanlike conduct—necessitated by the earlier warning for racquet abuse—meaning Clijsters won the match 6–4, 7–5. The following day, Williams was issued the maximum permissible on-site fine of $10,000 (plus $500 for racquet abuse). After further investigation, the Grand Slam Committee in November 2009 fined her $175,000 in lieu of suspending her from the 2010 US Open or other Grand Slam events. They also placed her on a two-year probation, so if Williams committed another offense in the following two years at a Grand Slam tournament, she would be suspended from participating in the following US Open. If she committed no offenses in the next two years, her fine would be reduced to $82,500. Williams initially refused to apologize for her outburst, both in her post-match press conference and in an official statement released the following day. She eventually apologized stating "I just really wanted to apologize sincerely, because I'm a very prideful person and I'm a very intense person and a very emotional person", and "I wanted to offer my sincere apologies to anyone that I may have offended." She said she had been humbled by the experience.
2011 US Open
In the final of the 2011 U.S. Open against Samantha Stosur, Williams again generated controversy. After shouting "Come on!" as the Australian attempted to return a forehand Williams believed to be a winner, chair umpire Eva Asderaki awarded the point to Stosur based on the USTA's deliberate hindrance rule, which states, "If a player commits any act which hinders his opponent in making a stroke, then, if this is deliberate, he shall lose the point or if involuntary, the point shall be replayed." As the point was 30–40 on Williams' serve, the penalty gave the break of serve to Stosur. Williams became angry with the chair umpire and made several gestures and unflattering comments toward her during the next changeover, including telling Asderaki that if she ever saw the umpire coming toward her, she should "look the other way". Williams initially gained momentum in the set following the penalty, breaking back in the next game, but eventually flagged and lost the match, 6–2, 6–3. At the end of the match, she declined to offer the customary handshake to Asderaki. Williams mentioned the incident in her post-match speech as the tournament runner-up, claiming, "I hit a winner, but I guess it didn't count", but added, "It wouldn't have mattered in the end. Sam played really well." A writer for ESPN suggested that Williams could avoid being found to have violated the terms of the "probation" on which she was placed following her 2009 outburst, as she did not appear to have used profanity in addressing Asderaki during the match. In the end, Williams was fined $2,000 and was not barred from competing in the 2012 US Open because "...Williams' conduct, while verbally abusive, [did] not rise to the level of a major offence under the Grand Slam code of conduct."
Equipment and endorsements
Williams also has endorsement deals with Gatorade, Delta Air Lines, Audemars Piguet, Aston Martin, Pepsi, Beats by Dre headphones, Mission Athletecare, Berlei bras, OPI Products, OnePiece, IBM, Mini and Chase Bank.
Williams was once known for her unusual and colorful outfits on court. In 2002, there was much talk when she wore a black lycra catsuit at the US Open. At the 2004 US Open, Williams wore denim skirts and knee-high boots—tournament officials, however, did not allow her to wear the boots during matches. At Wimbledon in 2008, the white trench coat she wore during warm-up for her opening match was the subject of much discussion since it was worn despite the sunny weather. Off-court, Williams has also presented new designs. In November 2004, at the London premiere of After the Sunset she wore a red gown that had a near-topless effect.
Williams formerly had a special line with Puma and currently[when?] has a line with Nike. The deal with Nike is worth US$40 million and was signed in April 2004. Since 2004, she has also been running her own line of designer apparel called "Aneres"—her first name spelled backward. In 2009 she launched a signature collection of handbags and jewelry. The collection, called Signature Statement, is sold mainly on the Home Shopping Network (HSN).
In 2015, she became the first black female athlete to have a picture by herself on the cover of Vogue, which she did for the April 2015 issue.
In 2015 she also presented her HSN Signature Statement collection for the second time at the New York Fashion Week Show—a clothing line exclusively made for the retailer HSN.
Williams has appeared on television and also provided voice work on animated shows: in a 2001 episode of The Simpsons Serena joined the animation along with sister Venus, Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. She has also provided guest voice work in a 2005 episode of Playhouse Disney's animated kids show Higglytown Heroes and a 2007 episode of the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, which she has described as her "favorite show".
Williams has posed for the 2003 and 2004 editions of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In April 2005, MTV announced plans to broadcast a reality show around the lives of Serena and Venus, which was eventually aired on ABC Family. Williams has appeared twice on MTV's Punk'd and in 2007, appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race. In 2002, she played Miss Wiggins in the season 3 episode "Crouching Mother, Hidden Father" of My Wife and Kids; she has also guest-starred during episodes of The Bernie Mac Show, ER and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. In 2007 Williams appeared in the music video of "I Want You" by the American rapper Common, alongside performers Alicia Keys and Kanye West.
In late 2009, Williams became the first active female professional athlete to appear in a feminine hygiene product advertising campaign. A series of online videos and print advertisements for Tampax Pearl tampons showed her hitting balls at Mother Nature, played by Catherine Lloyd Burns, to prevent Mother Nature giving her a red-wrapped gift, representing her menstrual period. In the online videos, the two have dueling press conferences over the "bad blood" between them. "A lot of celebrities are not open to working with our brand, and we're thrilled that Serena is", said a brand manager for Tampax at Procter & Gamble.
In addition to English as her native language Williams is also fluent in French, and knows some Spanish and Italian. At the 2013 and 2015 French Open she gave her on-court interviews in French, much to the crowd's delight.
Miami Dolphins venture
In August 2009, Williams and her sister Venus became minority owners of the Miami Dolphins after purchasing a small stake in the team. Their home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, is about an hour's drive from the Dolphins' stadium. They are the first African-American women to hold any amount of ownership in an NFL franchise. Stephen Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, said "We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis."
In 2008, as part of the Serena Williams Foundation's work, Williams helped to fund the construction of the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya. The Serena Williams Foundation also provides university scholarships for underprivileged students in the United States. She received a Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation in 2003 for work in breast cancer. Williams has also been involved in a number of clinics at schools and community centers, particularly those which have programs focusing on at-risk youth. She has also won the "Young Heroes Award" from Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater L.A. and Inland (2003) and the "Family Circle and Prudential Financial Player Who Makes a Difference Award" (2004). In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Williams, along with other ATP and WTA stars decided to forgo their final day of preparation for the 2010 Australian Open to form a charity event in which all proceeds will go to the Haiti earthquake victims. Serena, along with her sister Venus, is a supporter and contributor of First Serve Miami, a foundation for youth who want to learn tennis but are socially and economically challenged. She has been an International Goodwill Ambassador with UNICEF since 2011 and has helped launch UNICEF's Schools for Asia campaign.
Williams' return to Indian Wells in 2015 was done in partnership with the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides legal representation to those who may have been denied a fair trial. EJI executive director Bryan Stevenson lauded her courage in supporting his organization. "It's so rare when athletes at the top of their game are willing to embrace a set of issues that, for a lot of people, are edgier", he said. "This is not aid to orphans ... She was standing when a lot of her contemporaries remain seated, speaking up when others are being quiet."
Other charitable organizations Williams supports include the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Great Ormond Street Hospital, Hearts of Gold, the Common Ground Foundation, the Small Steps Project, the HollyRod Foundation, Beyond the Boroughs National Scholarship Fund, World Education, the Eva Longoria Foundation, the Caliber Foundation and the Cure for MND Foundation.
The Williams sisters, with author Hilary Beard, wrote a book titled Venus & Serena: Serving From The Hip: 10 Rules For Living, Loving and Winning, which was published in 2005. During the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, Williams said that she is in the process of writing a TV show storyline, which will be converted into script form by her agency. She stated that the show will represent subject matter from a mix of popular American television shows such as Desperate Housewives, and Family Guy. Williams released her first solo autobiography entitled On the Line, following the 2009 US Open.
On September 14, 2003 Williams' elder half-sister Yetunde Price was shot to death. Yetunde sometimes worked as a personal assistant to both Venus and Serena Williams. Her killer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
Won tournament; reached the Finals; Semifinals; Quarterfinals; Rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; competed at a Round Robin stage; reached a Qualification Round; absent from tournament event; played in a Davis Cup or Fed Cup Zonal Group (with its number indication) or Play-off; won a Bronze, Silver (F or S) or Gold medal at the Olympics; a downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament (Not a Masters Series); or a tournament that was Not Held in a given year.
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated either at the conclusion of a tournament, or when the player's participation in the tournament has ended.
|Australian Open||2R||3R||4R||QF||A||W||A||W||3R||W||QF||W||W||A||4R||QF||4R||W||F||6 / 16||74–10|
|French Open||4R||3R||A||QF||W||SF||QF||A||A||QF||3R||QF||QF||A||1R||W||2R||W||3 / 14||54–11|
|Wimbledon||3R||A||SF||QF||W||W||F||3R||A||QF||F||W||W||4R||W||4R||3R||W||6 / 16||79–10|
|US Open||3R||W||QF||F||W||A||QF||4R||4R||QF||W||SF||A||F||W||W||W||SF||6 / 16||84–10|
|Win–Loss||8–4||11–2||12–3||18–4||21–0||19–1||14–3||12–2||5–2||19–3||19–3||23–2||18–1||9–2||17–2||21–2||13–3||26–1||6–1||21 / 62||291–41|
Grand Slam tournament finals
Singles: 26 (21–5)
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Opponents in final||Score in final|
|Winner||1999||US Open||Hard||Martina Hingis||6–3, 7–6(7–4)|
|Runner-up||2001||US Open||Hard||Venus Williams||2–6, 4–6|
|Winner||2002||French Open||Clay||Venus Williams||7–5, 6–3|
|Winner||2002||Wimbledon||Grass||Venus Williams||7–6(7–4), 6–3|
|Winner||2002||US Open (2)||Hard||Venus Williams||6–4, 6–3|
|Winner||2003||Australian Open||Hard||Venus Williams||7–6(7–4), 3–6, 6–4|
|Winner||2003||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Venus Williams||4–6, 6–4, 6–2|
|Runner-up||2004||Wimbledon||Grass||Maria Sharapova||1–6, 4–6|
|Winner||2005||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Lindsay Davenport||2–6, 6–3, 6–0|
|Winner||2007||Australian Open (3)||Hard||Maria Sharapova||6–1, 6–2|
|Runner-up||2008||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Venus Williams||5–7, 4–6|
|Winner||2008||US Open (3)||Hard||Jelena Janković||6–4, 7–5|
|Winner||2009||Australian Open (4)||Hard||Dinara Safina||6–0, 6–3|
|Winner||2009||Wimbledon (3)||Grass||Venus Williams||7–6(7–3), 6–2|
|Winner||2010||Australian Open (5)||Hard||Justine Henin||6–4, 3–6, 6–2|
|Winner||2010||Wimbledon (4)||Grass||Vera Zvonareva||6–3, 6–2|
|Runner-up||2011||US Open (2)||Hard||Samantha Stosur||2–6, 3–6|
|Winner||2012||Wimbledon (5)||Grass||Agnieszka Radwańska||6–1, 5–7, 6–2|
|Winner||2012||US Open (4)||Hard||Victoria Azarenka||6–2, 2–6, 7–5|
|Winner||2013||French Open (2)||Clay||Maria Sharapova||6–4, 6–4|
|Winner||2013||US Open (5)||Hard||Victoria Azarenka||7–5, 6–7(6–8), 6–1|
|Winner||2014||US Open (6)||Hard||Caroline Wozniacki||6–3, 6–3|
|Winner||2015||Australian Open (6)||Hard||Maria Sharapova||6–3, 7–6(7–5)|
|Winner||2015||French Open (3)||Clay||Lucie Šafářová||6–3, 6–7(2–7), 6–2|
|Winner||2015||Wimbledon (6)||Grass||Garbiñe Muguruza||6–4, 6–4|
|Runner-up||2016||Australian Open||Hard||Angelique Kerber||4–6, 6–3, 4–6|
Women's doubles: 13 (13–0)
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Partner||Opponents in final||Score in final|
|Winner||1999||French Open||Clay||Venus Williams|| Martina Hingis
|6–3, 6–7(2–7), 8–6|
|Winner||1999||US Open||Hard||Venus Williams|| Chanda Rubin
|4–6, 6–1, 6–4|
|Winner||2000||Wimbledon||Grass||Venus Williams|| Julie Halard-Decugis
|Winner||2001||Australian Open||Hard||Venus Williams|| Lindsay Davenport
|6–2, 2–6, 6–4|
|Winner||2002||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Venus Williams|| Virginia Ruano Pascual
|Winner||2003||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Venus Williams|| Virginia Ruano Pascual
|4–6, 6–4, 6–3|
|Winner||2008||Wimbledon (3)||Grass||Venus Williams|| Lisa Raymond
|Winner||2009||Australian Open (3)||Hard||Venus Williams|| Daniela Hantuchová
|Winner||2009||Wimbledon (4)||Grass||Venus Williams|| Samantha Stosur
|Winner||2009||US Open (2)||Hard||Venus Williams|| Cara Black
|Winner||2010||Australian Open (4)||Hard||Venus Williams|| Cara Black
|Winner||2010||French Open (2)||Clay||Venus Williams|| Květa Peschke
|Winner||2012||Wimbledon (5)||Grass||Venus Williams|| Andrea Hlaváčková
Mixed doubles: 4 (2–2)
|Outcome||Year||Championship||Surface||Partner||Opponents in final||Score in final|
|Runner-up||1998||French Open||Clay||Luis Lobo|| Justin Gimelstob
|Winner||1998||Wimbledon||Grass||Max Mirnyi|| Mahesh Bhupathi
|Winner||1998||US Open||Hard||Max Mirnyi|| Patrick Galbraith
|Runner-up||1999||Australian Open||Hard||Max Mirnyi|| David Adams
Mariaan de Swardt
|4–6, 6–4, 6–7(5–7)|
Records and achievements
- Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
- Records in italics are currently active streaks.
|Time span||Selected Grand Slam tournament records||Players matched|
|1999 US Open —
2003 Australian Open
|Career Grand Slam in singles||Doris Hart
Billie Jean King
|2012 Wimbledon —
2015 Australian Open
|Career Grand Slam in singles after age 30||Stands alone|
|1999 US Open —
|Career Golden Slam||Steffi Graf|
|2012 Wimbledon —
2015 Australian Open
|Career Golden Slam in singles after age 30||Stands alone|
|1999 French Open —
2003 Australian Open
|Career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles||Doris Hart
|1999 French Open —
|Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles||Stands alone|
|2012 Wimbledon —
|Eight Grand Slam singles titles after age 30||Stands alone|
|1999 US Open —
2015 Australian Open
|Twelve hardcourt Grand Slam singles titles||Stands alone|
|2012 Olympics —
|Simultaneous holder of Olympic singles gold and all four Majors in singles||Steffi Graf|
|2008 Olympics —
2010 French Open
|Simultaneous holder of Olympic gold and all four majors in doubles (with Venus Williams)||Venus Williams|
|1999 French Open —
|2+ doubles titles at all 4 Majors and the Olympics (with Venus Williams)||Venus Williams|
|2002 French Open —
2003 Australian Open
|Holder of all four Grand Slam singles titles at once||Maureen Connolly
|2002 French Open —
|Winner of two non-calendar year Grand Slams||Stands alone|
|2002 French Open —
|Winner of 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two decades||Stands alone|
|2002 French Open —
2013 French Open
|Winner of all four Grand Slam singles titles in two decades||Margaret Court
|1999 US Open —
2013 French Open
|Winner of Grand Slam singles titles in three decades||Blanche Bingley
|1999 French Open —
|First 13 Grand Slam doubles finals won (w/Venus Williams)||Venus Williams|
|1999 US Open —
2015 French Open
|Triple Career Grand Slam (3+ titles at all four Majors) in singles||Margaret Court
|1999 US Open —
2013 French Open
|Double Career Grand Slam in both singles and doubles||Margaret Court
|1999 US Open —
|6 titles at three Majors||Stands alone|
|1998 Australian Open —
2015 French Open
|50+ wins at all four Grand Slams||Stands alone|
|Grand Slam tournaments||Time span||Records at each Grand Slam tournament||Players matched|
|Australian Open||2007||Unseeded winner of singles title||Chris O'Neil|
|Australian Open||2003–2015||6 titles overall||Stands alone|
|French Open||2002–2015||13 years between first and last title||Stands alone|
|US Open||1999–2014||6 titles overall||Chris Evert|
|US Open||2002, 2008, 2014||Three titles without dropping a set||Chris Evert|
|US Open||1999–2012||Winner of singles titles in three decades||Stands alone|
|US Open||1999–2014||15 years between first and last title||Stands alone|
|US Open||2011, 2013–2014||Won as US Open Series Champion multiple times||Stands alone|
|Time span||Other selected records||Players matched|
|1999–2015||22 Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 singles titles overall||Stands alone|
|1999–2015||30 Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 singles finals overall||Stands alone|
|1999–2015||16 Hard court Tier I / Premier Mandatory & Premier 5 singles titles overall||Stands alone|
|Won WTA Tour Championships on debut||Maria Sharapova
|2010||Ranked No. 1 in singles and doubles simultaneously||Martina Navratilova
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
|2003–2008||2 Hopman Cup titles||Dominik Hrbatý
Arantxa Sánchez Vicario
|2002–2015||8 Miami Masters singles titles overall||Stands alone|
|2000–2012||4 Olympic Gold Medals overall||Venus Williams|
|2000–2012||3 Olympic Gold Medals in Doubles (w/Venus Williams)||Stands alone|
|2000–2012||100% (15–0) Olympic match winning record in doubles (w/Venus Williams)||Stands alone|
|2001, 2012||Two Year-End Championships won without losing a set||Martina Navratilova|
|2001–2013||Winning percentage of 83.3% at Year-End Championships||Stands alone|
|1995–2014||$60,881,179 prize money overall||Stands alone|
|2001||The Simpsons||Herself (voice)||Episode: "Tennis the Menace"|
|2002||My Wife and Kids||Miss Wiggins||Episode: "Crouching Mother, Hidden Father"|
|2003||Street Time||Meeka Hayes||Episode: "Fly Girl"|
|2004||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Chloe Spiers||Episode: "Brotherhood"|
|2004||The Division||Jennifer Davis||Episode: "Lost and Found"|
|2004||Hair Show||Agent Ross|
|2005||Higglytown Heroes||Snowplow Driver Hero (voice)||Episode: "Higgly Hoedown/Eubie's Turbo Sled"|
|2005||ER||Alice Watson||Episode: "Two Ships "|
|2005||All of Us||Herself||Episode: "Not So Wonderful News"|
|2005||America's Next Top Model||Herself||Episode: "The Girl with the Worst Photo in History"|
|2007||Loonatics Unleashed||Queen Athena (voice)||Episode: "Apocalypso"|
|2007||Avatar: The Last Airbender||Ming (voice)||Episode: "The Day of Black Sun: Part 1 – The Invasion"|
|2006||The Bernie Mac Show||Herself||Episode: "Spinning Wheels"|
|2008||The Game||Herself||Episode: "The List Episode"|
|2008||MADtv||Herself / Black Racket||Episode: "Episode 7"|
|2011||Keeping Up with the Kardashians||Herself||Episode: "Kim's Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event – Part 2"|
|2012||Drop Dead Diva||Kelly Stevens||Episode: "Rigged"|
|2012||Venus and Serena||Herself|
|2013||The Legend of Korra||Female Sage (voice)||Episode: "Beginnings, Part 1"|
|2015||7 Days in Hell||Herself|
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On they went — at Williams's insistence — in the language of Molière, Charles de Gaulle and Yannick Noah. And as Williams bravely worked her way through the banter — with the odd grammatical error but a respectable flow and accent — it was clear once again how much this tournament and this city meant to her.
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