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Serena Williams | Biography, Titles, & Facts | Britannica
Serena Williams is famous for revolutionizing women’s tennis with her powerful style of play and for winning more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era.
What has Serena Williams accomplished?
Serena Williams won more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era in tennis. In addition, Serena and her sister Venus won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and three doubles gold medals at the Olympics.
Where was Serena Williams born and raised?
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, but was raised in Los Angeles, where she learned tennis from her father on public courts. She turned professional in 1995, when she was 14 years old.
Serena Williams, (born September 26, 1981, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.), American tennis player who revolutionized women’s tennis with her powerful style of play and who won more Grand Slam singles titles (23) than any other woman or man during the open era.
Williams grew up in Compton, California. The family included her parents—Oracene Price, a nurse, and Richard Williams, who founded a security service—and Venus Williams, her older sister. Price also had three daughters from a previous marriage. While both parents encouraged Serena and Venus Williams to play tennis, it was Richard Williams who largely taught them the sport, taking the two girls to the public courts in the area. He was known as a strict coach, and the sisters spent long hours practicing. In 1991 the family moved to Florida so that Serena and Venus Williams could attend a tennis academy. Serena Williams turned professional in 1995, one year after her older sister. Possessing powerful serves and ground strokes and superb athleticism, they soon attracted much attention. Many predicted that Venus would be the first Williams sister to win a Grand Slam singles title, but it was Serena who accomplished the feat, winning the 1999 U.S. Open. At that tournament the sisters won the doubles event, and, over the course of their careers, the two teamed up for 14 Grand Slam doubles titles.
At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Serena and Venus Williams won gold medals in the doubles event. After several years of inconsistent play, Serena Williams asserted herself in 2002 and won the French Open, Wimbledon, and the U.S. Open, defeating Venus Williams in the finals of each tournament. At the latter tournament, Serena Williams also garnered attention by wearing a catsuit. Long interested in fashion, Williams became noted for bold outfits that highlighted her strength and challenged traditional—and typically conservative—dress codes. Displaying her trademark tenacity, Williams won the Australian Open in 2003 and thus completed a career Grand Slam by having won all four of the slam’s component tournaments. Later that year she was also victorious at Wimbledon; both of her Grand Slam wins in 2003 came after she had bested her sister in the finals. In 2005 Williams won the Australian Open again. Beset by injury the following year, she rebounded in 2007 to win her third Australian Open. Serena and Venus Williams won their second doubles tennis gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. Later that year Serena Williams won the U.S. Open for a third time. In 2009 she captured her 10th Grand Slam singles title by winning the Australian Open. Later that year she won her third Wimbledon singles title, once again defeating her sister. Williams defended her titles at the Australian Open and Wimbledon in 2010. She subsequently battled various health issues that kept her off the court for almost a year.
In 2012 Williams captured her fifth Wimbledon singles title. A month later at the London Olympic Games, she won a gold medal in the singles event, becoming the second woman (behind Steffi Graf) to win a career Golden Slam. She also teamed with her sister to win the doubles event. Later that year Williams claimed her 15th Grand Slam singles title with a victory at the U.S. Open. In 2013 she won her second French Open singles championship and fifth U.S. Open singles title. Williams successfully defended her U.S. Open championship in 2014, which gave her 18 career Grand Slam titles, tying her with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the second highest women’s singles total of the open era. The following year she captured her sixth Australian Open. Williams then won the 2015 French Open—her 20th total Grand Slam singles championship. She continued her torrid streak at Wimbledon, winning a straight-set final to capture her sixth career Wimbledon singles title. Williams again won Wimbledon in 2016, giving her 22 career Grand Slam singles titles, which tied her with Graf for the most Slams in the open era for both women and men. Williams broke Graf’s record at the 2017 Australian Open, where she defeated her sister in the final.
In April 2017, Williams announced that she was pregnant (she had gotten engaged to Alexis Ohanian, cofounder of the website Reddit, in December 2016) and would miss the remainder of the 2017 season. In September she gave birth to a daughter, and two months later she married Ohanian. Williams returned to tennis in March 2018. She failed to win a tournament that year, though she reached the finals at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. The latter loss proved controversial as Williams was penalized a game after arguing with the chair umpire over a code violation. In 2019 she was again defeated in the finals at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. At the 2020 ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, Williams won her first singles event in some three years.
Williams reached the semifinals of the 2021 Australian Open but lost to Naomi Osaka. Later that year she was forced to withdraw from both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open because of injuries. After missing the first half of the 2022 season, Williams competed at Wimbledon but was defeated in the first round. She later was interviewed for Vogue magazine and revealed that she would be retiring after the upcoming U.S. Open. Williams stated that she was “evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me.”
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