Olympic tennis players.
Venus and Serena Williams started playing tennis at the age of 7 and 4 in LA’s public courts, near their home city of Compton, California. They were coached by their father, who was also their home-school teacher. In 1990, the family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida, where the 10 years old Venus and 9 years old Serena attended the tennis academy of Rick Macci. They began to compete in national junior tennis tournaments but stopped in the following year to focus on their education. Five years later, the sisters were pulled out from the academy and were coached solely by their father.
Venus’ professional career began at the age of 14. Within three years, she reached the US Open singles on her first attempt. She became famous for her groundstrokes and powerful serves, which gained her the first Olympic gold medal in the singles competition, and her first in the doubles alongside her sister in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. She continued winning one tournament after another, including Wimbledon and the US opens. In 2007, She was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that affected her game. Although it slowed her down, it did not stop her from playing, and in 2019, at the age of 39, she was the oldest player to compete in that year Wimbledon tournament.
Her achievements are not reserved only to the court. She has an associate degree in fashion design from the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Indiana University East, and an interior design certificate. She started an interior design firm called V Starr Interiors, a collection of women’s apparel for Wilson’s Leather, as well as a clothing line named EleVen. She is also working with UNESCO, promoting gender equality all over the world.
Much like her older sister, Serena’s talent was noticed as soon as she was able to hold a racquet, and at the age of 10, she already served topped 100 miles per hour. She turned professional at 14, and by 18, she won the US Open for the first time. After winning her first Olympic gold medal with her sister at the 2000 Olympic Games, she won all the important world tournaments, including Wimbledon, the US Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open, defending her titles year after year in singles as well as in doubles. In the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, she and her sister won the doubles tennis gold medal for the second time, and when she won the gold medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games and became the second woman to win a career Golden Slam. In addition to her awarded athlete career, Serena founded a non-profit organization that funds schools in Uganda, Kenya, and Jamaica. She is married and has a daughter.
During their careers, the two sisters not only played alongside each other in major Grand Slam tournaments but also one against the other. Between the two of them, Venus and Serena won 30 Grand Slam titles – Venus with 7 and Serena with 23. They won more than 130 Million dollars of prize money.
More Interesting Anecdotes:
- They were raised as Jehovah’s Witness.
- They have seven paternal half-siblings.
- They were the first two players to play in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals.
- They are part-owners of the Miami Dolphins, the first African-American women to obtain an NFL franchise ownership.
- They have faced off one another 31 times in professional tournaments – Serena leads their head-to-head 19–12.
- They appeared in an episode of The Simpsons TV show.
- As a child, Venus wanted to be an astronaut.
- In 2001, Venus made history when she became the sixth woman to win both Wimbledon and the US Open singles title in consecutive years.
- Venus co-authored a book titled Come To Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession.
- Sports Illustrated profiled Venus when she was only 9 years old.
- Serena was 8 weeks pregnant when she won the 2018 Australian Open.
- Serena became a certified nail technician in preparation for her nail collection.
- In 2015 Serena became the first black female athlete to appear on the cover of Vogue.
- Serena was ranked No. 1 for 253 weeks.
- Serena’s 2009 autobiography is titled On the Line.