Venus Ebony Starr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is an American professional tennis player . She is considered to be one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time,she has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women’s Tennis Association on three separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on February 25, 2002, becoming the first African American woman to achieve the feat during theopen era.
Williams is the reigning champion in women’s doubles at the French Open. Her 21 Grand Slam titles ties her for twelfth on the all time list and is more than any other active female player except for her younger sister Serena Williams: seven in singles, twelve in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. Her seven Grand Slam singles titles ties her with four other women for twelfth on the all-time list. Her five Wimbledon singles titles ties her with two other women for eighth on the all-time list. She is one of only three women in the open era to have won five or more Wimbledon singles titles. From the 2000 Wimbledon Championships through the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments held. She is one of only five women in the open era to win 200 or more main draw Grand Slam singles matches.
Williams has won three Olympic gold medals, one in singles and two in women’s doubles. She has won more Olympic gold medals than any other female tennis player. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
With 43 career singles titles, Williams leads active players on the WTA Tour. Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest winning streak since January 1, 2000.
Venus has played her sister Serena in 23 professional matches since 1998, with Serena winning 13 of these matches. They have met in eight Grand Slam singles finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they met in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, the first time in the open era that the same two players had contested four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals. The pair have won 12 Grand Slam doubles titles together. She is also one of only two active WTA players to have made the finals of all four Grand Slams, the other player being her sister Serena Williams .
Williams was born in Lynwood, California to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is of African American heritage and is the second youngest of Oracene’s five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde (died September 14, 2003), Lyndrea and Isha Price, and younger sister and former World No. 1 tennis player Serena Williams.
Williams’s family moved from Compton, California to West Palm Beach when she was ten 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’s 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 eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on school work. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of white players talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. At that time, Williams had a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among under 12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci’s academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
Williams is one of the most powerful and better baseliners on tour, equipped with an attacking all-court game. Her game is very well adapted to grass where she feels most comfortable, which is reflected in her five Wimbledon singles titles. Across her career, she has developed into a skillful volleyer and effectively utilizes her long “wingspan” (1.85m) and agility around the net. Williams also has great court coverage using her long reach to play balls that most players would not be able to reach and is capable of hitting outright winners from a defensive position.
She holds the record for the fastest serve struck by a woman in a main draw event. At the Zurich Open, she recorded 130 mph (210 km/h). She also holds the record for fastest serve in all four Grand Slam tournaments: 2003 Australian Open quarterfinal – 125 mph (201 km/h), 2007 French Open second round, 2008 Wimbledon final, 2007 US Open first round – 129 mph (208 km/h). AtWimbledon in 2008, her average first serve speed was 115 mph (185 km/h) in the quarterfinal, 116 mph (187 km/h) in the semifinal, and 111 mph (179 km/h) in the final.
Williams has always been a explosive hitter of the ball off the ground, but her backhand is the more consistently reliable of her groundstrokes. Her backhand is equally effective down-the-line or crosscourt (frequently for a set-up approach shot). Her forehand occasionally breaks down under pressure. However, it is still the more powerful of her groundstrokes and yields many winners, from a variety of court positions. Additionally, it is one of the most powerful forehands in the women’s game, frequently struck in the 85 – 90 mph (140 km/h) range. In the 2008 Wimbledon women’s final, Venus struck a forehand winner measured at 94 mph (IBM/Wimbledon). Only a few women (notably Ivanović, Serena Williams, and Justine Henin) hit to these speeds off the ground.
Williams’s best surface is grass. She has won Wimbledon five times and has reached the final there in eight of the last ten years. The low bounces that grass produces tend to make her first serve an even more powerful weapon. Her movement on grass is also among the best on the WTA tour. Clay is Williams’s weakest surface although she has suffered numerous injuries prior to the French Open. Her movement is suspect and her powerful serve and groundstrokes are less effective. Still, she has won numerous[clarification needed] titles on clay.
1994–96: Professional debut
Already well-known in tennis circles at age 14, Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994. In the second round of her first professional tournament, the Bank of the West Classicin Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against World No. 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994.
In 1995, Williams played three more events as a wild card, falling in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles and the tournament in Toronto but reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in Oakland, defeating World No. 18 Amy Frazier in the second round for her first win over a top 20 ranked player before losing to Magdalena Maleeva.
Williams played five events in 1996, falling in the first round four times but reaching the third round in Los Angeles, losing to World No. 1 Steffi Graf 6–4, 6–4.
1997–99: Early success
Williams played 15 tour events in 1997, including five Tier I tournaments. She reached the quarterfinals in three of the Tier I events — the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, the European Indoor Championships in Zürich, and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. In Indian Wells in March, Williams defeated World No. 9 Iva Majoli in the third round for her first win over a player ranked in the top 10. She then lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 8 Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. Her ranking broke into the top 100 on April 14, 1997. She made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open, reaching the second round before losing to Nathalie Tauziat. She then lost in the first round of Wimbledon to Magdalena Grzybowska. During her debut at the US Open, she lost the final to Martina Hingis 6–0, 6–4 after defeating Irina Spîrlea in a semifinal famous for “the bump” in which Spîrlea and Williams collided during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated. She was the first woman sincePam Shriver in 1978 to reach a US Open singles final on her first attempt and was the first unseeded US Open women’s singles finalist since 1958. On September 8, 1997, her ranking broke into the top 50 for the first time. She ended the year ranked World No. 22.
Williams started 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney, where she defeated World No. 1 Hingis for the first time in the second round before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the final. These results caused her ranking to break into the top 20 for the first time, at World No. 16. During her debut at the Australian Open, Williams defeated younger sister Serena in the second round, which was the sisters’ first professional meeting. Venus eventually lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 3 Davenport.
Three weeks later, Williams defeated World No. 2 Davenport for the first time in the semifinals of the IGA Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City. Williams then defeated Joannette Kruger in the final to win the first singles title of her career. In her first Tier I event of the year, Williams lost in the semifinals of the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells to World No. 1 Hingis. The following week, Williams won the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals. On March 30, 1998, her ranking broke into the top 10 for the first time, at World No. 10.
Williams played only one tournament on clay before the 1998 French Open. At the Italian Open in Rome, she defeated sister Serena in the quarterfinals and World No. 5 Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Williams lost again to Hingis in the quarterfinals of the French Open 6–3, 6–4. Williams lost her first match at theDirect Line International Championships in Eastbourne on grass before losing to eventual champion and World No. 3 Jana Novotná in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon 7–5, 7–6(2). On July 27, 1998, her ranking rose to World No. 5.
Williams played three tournaments during the North American 1998 summer hard court season. She reached her fifth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 6 Monica Seles in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Davenport. Patella tendinitis in her left knee caused her to retire from her quarterfinal match at the tournament in San Diego while trailing Mary Pierce 4–0 in the third set. At the US Open, Williams defeated fourth seeded Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals before losing to second seeded and eventual champion Davenport in the semifinals 6–4, 6–4.
Williams played four tournaments the remainder of 1998. She won her third title of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich in September, defeating World No. 9 Patty Schnyder in the final. She lost in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt before losing in the final of the Tier I Swisscom Challenge in Zürich to World No. 1 Davenport and the semifinals of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow to Pierce. She had earned enough points during the year to participate in the year-ending Chase Championship but withdrew from the tournament because of tendinitis in her knee. She finished the year ranked World No. 5.
In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that year, completing a “Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam”. Williams won the first two women’s doubles titles of her career, in Oklahoma City and Zürich. Both titles came with sister Serena, becoming only the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour doubles title.
Williams started the 1999 tour in Australia, where she lost to World No. 10 Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals of the Medibank International in Sydney and World No. 1 Davenport in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. However, she rebounded at the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover, defeating Graf for the first time in the semifinals before losing the final to World No. 3 Novotná. Williams then successfully defended her titles in both Oklahoma City and Key Biscayne. She defeated Novotná and Graf to reach the final in Key Biscayne, where she defeated Serena in three sets in the first final on the WTA Tour to be contested by two sisters.
Williams played four clay court events during the spring. She lost her first match at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. Three weeks later, however, she won her first title on clay at the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. Williams then won the Tier I Italian Open in Rome, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 8 Pierce in the final. At the French Open, she extended her winning streak to 22 matches before losing in the fourth round to World No. 125 Barbara Schwartz. Williams teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event, the first Grand Slam title the pair won together.
At the 1999 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated World No. 17 Anna Kournikova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, where she lost to eventual runner-up Graf 6–2, 3–6, 6–4.
Williams rebounded in the summer when she won two Fed Cup matches against Italy and lost in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford to World No. 1 Davenport. One week later, Williams defeated Davenport in the semifinals of the TIG Tennis Classic in San Diego before losing to World No. 2 Hingis in the final 6–4, 6–0. In her last tournament before the US Open, Williams won the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating World No. 5 Seles in the semifinals and Davenport in the final. On August 30, 1999, her world ranking reached third for the first time. Seeded third at the US Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Hingis in three sets. However, she teamed with singles champion Serena at this event to win their second Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
During the remainder of the year, Williams contributed to the USA’s victory over Russia in the Fed Cup final, winning one singles rubber before joining Serena to win the doubles rubber. At the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Venus defeated Hingis in the semifinals 6–2, 6–7(6), 9–7 before losing to Serena for the first time in the final. Venus won her sixth title of the year at the Tier I event in Zurich, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Four weeks later, she lost to Davenport in the semifinals of the tournament in Philadelphia. Making her debut at the year-ending Chase Championships, Williams lost to Hingis in the semifinals. She finished the year ranked World No. 3.
2000–02: Williams sisters domination
In 2000, Williams missed the first four months of the year with tendinitis in both wrists. She returned to the tour during the European clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg to Amanda Coetzer and in the third round of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to Jelena Dokić. Although she had won only two of her four matches before the French Open, she was seeded fourth there. She won her first four matches in Paris without losing a set before losing in the quarterfinals to eighth-seeded and former champion Arantxa Sánchez Vicario 6–0, 1–6, 6–2.
Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and six tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, sister Serena in the semifinals, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She also teamed with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at this event.
She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of the tournament in Stanford, California and Monica Seles in the finals of both the tournament in San Diego and the tournament in New Haven, Connecticut.
At the US Open, Williams defeated still-World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals 4–6, 6–3, 7–5, coming back from 5–3 (15–30) down in the third set, and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, Williams defeated Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. She also won the gold medal in women’s doubles with her sister Serena. Davenport eventually snapped her winning streak in October in the final of the tournament in Linz. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anemia. She finished the year ranked World No. 3 and with six singles titles.
In 2001, Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Hingis 6–1, 6–1. However, Venus teamed with Serena to win the doubles title at the event, completing a Career Grand Slam in women’s doubles for the pair.
Williams also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, where she controversially defaulted her match with sister Serena just before the match started. Venus had been suffereing from knee tendinitis throughout the tournament and eventually this prevented her from playing. The following day, Venus and her father Richard were booed as they made their way to their seats to watch the final despite her clear injury. Serena was subsequently booed during the final with Kim Clijsters and during the trophy presentation. Due to the overt racism of the crowd, neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. Venus rebounded from the Indian Wells controversy to win the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. She defeated Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final, after saving eight championship points. Because of this victory, her ranking rose to a career high of World No. 2.
During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I EUROCARD Ladies German Open to World No. 18Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett. This was only the second time that she had lost in the first round of a Grand Slam singles tournament.
Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Davenport in the semifinals and eighth-seeded Henin in the final 6–1, 3–6, 6–0.
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams won for the second consecutive year the tournaments in San Diego, defeating Seles in the final, and in New Haven, defeating Davenport in the final. Williams also won the US Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Clijsters, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati. She played Serena in the final, which was the first Grand Slam singles final contested by two sisters during the open era. Venus won the match and her fourth Grand Slam singles title. Venus also became only the sixth woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navaratilova (twice), Steffi Graf (twice), Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly Brinker, and Helen Wills Moody (twice).
Williams began 2002 by winning the Mondial Australian Women’s Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, defeating Henin in the final. However, she then lost for the first time in her career to Seles in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Williams then went on to win the Open Gaz de France in Paris when Jelena Dokić withdrew from the final, and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, defeating Henin in the final. As a result of her strong start to the season, Williams assumed the World No. 1 position for the first time on February 25, dislodging Capriati. Williams was the first African-American woman ever to hold the ranking. She held it for just three weeks before surrendering it back to Capriati.
Williams failed to defend her title in Miami after losing in the semifinals to Serena. However, she made a strong start to the clay-court season, winning the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, defeating Henin in the final. A week after winning that tournament, she once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1, before losing it again to Capriati after three weeks. During those three weeks, Williams had made the final in Hamburg, defeating Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Clijsters in the final. Seeded second at the French Open, Williams defeated former champion Seles to reach the semifinals for the first time. There, she defeated Clarisa Fernández. In the final, Williams met Serena for a second time in a Grand Slam final, with Serena winning. Venus once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1 as a result of reaching the final.
As the top seed at Wimbledon, Williams defeated Henin in the semifinals to make the final for the third consecutive year. However, there, she lost to Serena. This result meant Serena replaced Venus as the World No. 1. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their fifth Grand Slam women’s doubles title together.
Williams won the titles in San Diego and New Haven for the third consecutive year, defeating Davenport and Dokic to win the former and defeating Davenport in the final of the latter. At the US Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals and Amélie Mauresmo in three sets to make the final. Playing Serena for their third consecutive Grand Slam final, Serena won once again. After that, Venus played just four more matches during the season. She reached the semifinals at the year-ending Sanex Championships after defeating Seles in the quarterfinals, but she then was forced to retire against Clijsters due to injury. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 2 having won seven titles, her best showing in both respects of her career.
2003–06: Injuries and losses
Williams started 2003 by defeating fifth seed Justine Henin to make the final of the Australian Open for the first time. In the final, however, she lost to sister Serena. This marked the first time in the open era that the same two players had met in four consecutive Grand Slam finals. Venus and Serena teamed to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their sixth Grand Slam title in women’s doubles.
In February, Williams won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However, shortly afterwards, she began to struggle with injury. She reached the final of the clay court J&S Cup in Warsaw before being forced to retire against Amélie Mauresmo. She then suffered her earliest exit at a Grand Slam tourmament in two years when she lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Vera Zvonareva.
At Wimbledon, Williams was seeded fourth. Williams defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals and Kim Clijsters in the semifnials to advance to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost again to sister Serena.
Wimbledon was Williams’s last event of the year as an abdominal injury that occurred during the Clijsters match prevented her from playing again. While she was recovering from the injury, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11. It was the first time in nearly six years that she had dropped out of the top ten.
In 2004, Williams came back to the tour and experienced inconsistent results. As the third seeded player because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. She then lost in the quarterfinals of her next three tournaments.
Williams began to find her form at the beginning of the clay court season. At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated Conchita Martínez in the final to win her first title in over a year and the second Tier I title on clay of her career. She then won in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final, before reaching the final of the Tier I German Open in Berlin, before withdrawing from that match against Mauresmo due to injury. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, after making the quarterfinals to extend her winning streak on the surface to 19 matches, she lost to eventual championAnastasia Myskina. Despite her defeat, she re-entered the top ten.
At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second round match to Croatian Karolina Šprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Šprem an unearned point in the second set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties. This defeat marked the first time since 1997 that Williams had exited Wimbledon prior to the quarterfinals. After Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, where she suffered her first defeat to Lindsay Davenport since 2000.
As the defending champion at the Athens Olympics, Williams lost in the third round to Mary Pierce. She then lost in the fourth round of the US Open to Davenport, the first time she had ever lost at the US Open prior to the semifinals. Williams completed the year by losing in the quarterfinals of three indoor tournaments in the fall, a period that included defeat in her first meeting with 17-year-old Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova at the Zurich Open. Williams finished the year as World No. 9 and did not qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships.
In 2005, Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final in Antwerp, defeating Clijsters and Myskina en route. In the final, Williams was a set and a service break up against Mauresmo before eventually losing.
In March, at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, Williams defeated sister and Australian Open champion Serena in the quarterfinals, the first time she had defeated Serena since 2001. Venus went on to lose in the semifinals to World No. 3 Sharapova. In May, Williams won her first title in over a year at the clay-court Istanbul Cup, defeating Nicole Vaidišová in the final. However, at the French Open, she lost in the third round to 15-year old Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently tested positive for steroids and was suspended.
Williams was seeded 14th at Wimbledon. In the quarterfinals of the tournament, she defeated French Open runner-up Pierce in an epic second set tiebreak, winning it 12–10 to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in two years. There, she defeated defending champion and second-seeded Maria Sharapova to make the Wimbledon final for the fifth time in six years. Playing top-seeded Davenport in the final, Williams saved a match point with a backhand winner en route to winning. This was Williams’s third Wimbledon singles title, her fifth Grand Slam singles title overall and her first since 2001. It was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women’s final at Wimbledon. In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (World No. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history. Williams returned to the top ten following the victory.
Following Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year in Stanford, where she lost to Clijsters. At the US Open, Williams achieved her second consecutive win over Serena in the fourth round, but then lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Beijing. She finished the year ranked World No. 10. It was the first year since 2001 that she had finished a year ranked higher than Serena.
In 2006, Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova which was her earliest loss ever at that tournament. After that loss, she did not play again for three months due to a wrist injury. She returned in late April on clay in Warsaw, where she defeated former World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the second round before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals. Wiliams completed the clay-court season by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she lost to Nicole Vaidišová.
Williams was the defending champion and one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. However, she lost lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Jelena Janković. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss. Williams did not play in the US Open series or the US Open itself due to the wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months in October, she reinjured her wrist at the tournament in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwańska. Williams finished the season as World No. 46, her lowest finish since she began to play on the WTA Tour full-time in 1997. It was the second consecutive year she finished higher than Serena, who finished the year at world #95
2007–09: Return to form
Williams withdrew from the 2007 Australian Open, the second consecutive Grand Slam that she had missed due to her recurring wrist injury. She returned in February at the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, USA, defeating top-seeded Shahar Pe’er in the final, her first singles title since her victory at Wimbledon in 2005.
At the beginning of the clay-court season, Williams reached the semifinals of the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost to Jelena Janković on a third set tiebreak. She also lost to fourth seed Janković in the third round of the French Open, her third consecutive loss to Janković. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128.8 mph) serve, which is the second fastest woman’s serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match.
Williams was ranked World No. 31 going into Wimbledon and was seeded 23rd at the tournament due to her previous results at Wimbledon. Williams was a game away from defeat in her first round match against Alla Kudryavtseva and in her third round match against Akiko Morigami she was two points away from defeat, but she eventually won both 7–5 in the third set. She then advanced to reach her sixth Wimbledon final, after beating Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivnovic en route to the final where she defeated 18th seed Marion Bartoli. Williams thus became only the fourth woman in the open era to win Wimbledon at least four times, along with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. She also became the lowest-seeded Wimbledon champion in history, breaking the record she herself set in 2005. Williams returned to the top 20 as a result of the win.
At the US Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph (208 km/h) serve in the opening round, Williams advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal outside of Wimbledon since 2003. However she then lost to eventual champion Justine Henin. The tournament resulted in Williams’s ranking moving up to World No. 9. Williams then won her third title of the year at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships inSeoul, South Korea, defeating Maria Kirilenko in the final, before then losing in the final of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo toVirginie Razzano. Williams had earned enough points during the year to qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madrid; however, she withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia. Williams finished the year as World No. 8 with three titles, her best performance in both respects since 2002, and a winning percentage of 83 percent.
In 2008, as the eighth seed at the Australian Open, Williams reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. However, she then lost to eventual runner-up Ana Ivanović. Williams made her first semifinal of the year at the Bangalore Open in Bangalore, India, where she met sister Serena for the first time since 2005 with Serena winning despite Venus holding a match point in the third set tie break.
Williams missed two tournaments at the beginning of the clay-court season due to undisclosed medical problems. At the French Open, Williams was seeded eighth but was eliminated by 26th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round.
Williams was the defending champion and seventh-seeded player at Wimbledon. Without dropping a set, she reached her seventh Wimbledon singles final. She then won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, and seventh Grand Slam singles title overall, by beating sister Serena in straight sets. This was the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena had played each other in a Grand Slam final and was the first time since 2001 that Venus had defeated her in a Grand Slam final. Venus and Serena then teamed to win the women’s doubles title, their first Grand Slam doubles title together since 2003.
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics to Li Na. She did, however, earn a gold medal along with Serena in women’s doubles, their second gold medal as a team, having won together at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. At the US Open, Williams made it to the quarterfinals, before losing to eventual champion Serena.
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany in October, Williams defeated a player ranked in the top three for the first time that season by defeating World No. 3 Dinara Safina to reach her third semifinal of the year. There, she lost to Janković. A fortnight later, Williams won the Zurich Open, defeating Ivanović in the semifinals before defeating Pennetta in the final to claim her second title of the year and secure a position in the year-ending 2008 WTA Tour Championships inDoha, Qatar. There, Williams defeated World No. 2 Safina, World No. 3 Serena and World No. 5 Dementieva in the preliminary round-robin stage. In the semifinals, Williams defeated World No. 1 Janković before winning the year-ending tournament for the first time by defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. She ended the year ranked sixth in the world with three titles and a winning percentage of 78 percent.
As the sixth seed at the 2009 Australian Open, Williams lost in the second round to Carla Suárez Navarro after holding a match point in the third set. However, she teamed up with Serena to win the women’s doubles title at the event, their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together. Venus rebounded in singles play in February at the Premier 5 (formerly Tier I) Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating defending champion and World No. 4 Dementieva in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Serena in the semifinals on a third set tiebreak. The latter win meant that Venus led the head-to-head in career matches with her sister for the first time since 2002. Venus went on to defeat Virginie Razzano in the final. This win meant Williams was ranked in the top five for the first time since 2003, while it also marked her 40th professional singles title, only the twelfth player in the open era to achieve the feat. Williams won another title the following week at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, defeating Pennetta in the final. This was her first title on clay since 2005.
On European clay, Williams reached the semifinals in Rome before losing to World No. 1 Safina. This run meant Williams was ranked in the top three for the first time since 2003. Seeded third at the French Open, Williams lost to Ágnes Szávay in the third round, the third consecutive year she had exited at that stage.
Williams was seeded third at Wimbledon. She advanced to her eighth Wimbledon final after truly impressive and devastating displays against Ana Ivanović (6–1 1–0 ret) in the fourth round, Agnieska Radwańska (6–1 6–2) in the quarterfinals and in particular Dinara Safina; the reigning World No. 1 who she crushed 6–0 6–1 in the single most shattering defeat of any current World no 1 in history. Heading in to the final, Venus held an incredible record of 36 straight sets at wimbledon (held since Wimbledon 2007). In the final however she narrowly lost the first set tie break and from then on bombed to a 7–6 6–2 defeat to sister Serena. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the doubles title at the tournament for the fourth time.
In Stanford, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva to advance to the finals, where she would lose to last year’s finalist Marion Bartoli 2–6, 7–5, 4–6. Teaming with her sister, she played doubles and won the title, defeating Monica Niculescu and Yung-Jan Chan.
At the 2009 US Open, as the third seed, Venus made it to the fourth round before losing to Kim Clijsters with a bizarre scoreline of 0–6, 6–0, 4–6. Venus then teamed up with Serena to play doubles at the open, where they won the title over defending champions and world No.1s in doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, claiming their third grand slam doubles title in 2009.
Williams’s last tournament in 2009 was the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, where she was the defending champion in singles. She was in the maroon group which includes her sister Serena, along with Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She lost her first match against Dementieva, and her second match against Serena- both in straight sets, after taking the first set. In her third and final RR match, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova. Because of Dementieva’s loss to Kuznetsova in their round robin match, Venus advanced to the semifinal of the championships. In her semifinal match, she defeated Jelena Janković of Serbia in a thrilling match 5–7 6–3 6–4 to advance to her second consecutive final in the tournament. In the final, she was outlasted by her sister Serena (7–6(4) 6–2); with both women hampered by leg injuries. In doubles, Venus teamed with Serena as the second seed. However, they lost to Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez in the semifinal. Their doubles record at the end of the year stood at 24–2.
Venus finished 2009 ranked world number 6 in singles (with a winning percentage of 70 percent) and world number 3 in doubles with Serena, in spite of playing only 6 events together in 2009.
2010: Return to top 2 despite injuries
Williams played at the Australian Open as the sixth seed. She defeated 17th-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round. She was two points from defeating 16th-seeded Li Na in the quarterfinals before losing 2–6, 7–6(4), 7–5. In doubles, she teamed with her sister Serena to successfully defend their title, defeating the top ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final 6–4, 6–3. The Williams sisters are undefeated in Grand Slam women’s doubles finals and are 4–0 in Australian Open doubles finals.
Williams then played the Dubai Tennis Championships, where she was the defending champion. Seeded third, she successfully defended her title by defeating fourth-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the final 6–3, 7–5.
Williams next played on clay at the Abierto Mexico Telcel in Acapulco where she was the defending champion. She reached the semifinals after recovering from a 1–5 third set deficit toLaura Pous Tió in the quarterfinals. In the final, she defeated first-time finalist Polona Hercog from Slovenia 2–6, 6–2, 6–3. This was her 43rd career title, which is the most among active female players.
Her next tournament was the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where she was seeded third. She defeated World No. 9 Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the semifinals to reach her third straight WTA tour final and fourth Sony Ericsson Open final. She was defeated by Kim Clijsters in the final 6–2, 6–1 in just 58 minutes, ending her 15-match winning streak. By reaching the final, her ranking improved to World No. 4 and she crossed the $26 million mark in career prize money, the only player besides Serena to do so.
The knee injury that hampered her during the final of the Sony Ericsson Open forced her to skip the Fed Cup tie against Russia and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Williams returned to the tour at the Premier 5 Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. She defeated Patty Schnyder and Shahar Pe’er before suffering the worst defeat of her career in the quarterfinals. World No. 4 Jelena Janković won their match 6–0, 6–1. Still, her ranking improved to World No. 3 on May 10.
Her next tournament was the Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open, a Premier Mandatory tournament. In the third round, she improved her career record against World No. 17 Francesca Schiavone to 7–0. She then beat World No. 8 Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals and routed Pe’er in the semifinals. Aravane Rezaï defeated her in the final 6–2, 7–5 despite Williams holding a 5–2 lead in the second set. In doubles, she teamed with Serena to win the title.
On May 17, her ranking improved to World No. 2, behind only Serena. This was the fourth time in the William sisters’ career in which they have occupied the top two spots, but the first time since May 2003.
Her next tournament was the French Open, where she played both singles and doubles despite her knee injury. Seeded second in singles, she advanced past the third round at this tournament for the first time since 2006 before losing to Nadia Petrova in the fourth round 6–4, 6–3. She also played doubles with Serena as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals increased their doubles ranking to World No. 1. They then defeated 12th seeded Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final 6–2, 6–3 to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women’s doubles title.
Her next tournament was the Wimbledon Championships, where she reached the final the last three years. Despite her knee injury, she made it to the quarterfinals, where she eventually lost in the quarterfinals to Tsvetana Pironkova 6–2, 6–3. Pironkova was ranked 82nd in the world and had never gone past the second round of a Grand Slam event. As a result, Williams dropped to World No. 4. She was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Serena, winning the last two years. They lost in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva 3–6, 6–3, 6–4.
Williams then missed all tournaments in the US Open Series because of a left knee injury but still participated at the US Open as the third seed. She won three matches to move into the fourth round. Williams became one of only two women in 2010 (along with Caroline Wozniacki) to reach at least the fourth round at all four Grand Slam singles tournaments. Williams then defeated Pe’er and French Open champion Schiavone en route to her seventh US Open semifinal, against defending champion Clijsters. In spite of her clear knee injury, Williams dominated the first set of their match and recovered from 5–2 down in the second set but ultimately double-faulted on a key point near the end of the match and lost 4–6, 7–6, 6–4. Because of Serena’s withdrawal from the US Open, Venus did not participate at the doubles event where she was the defending champion.
The recovery of her left knee took longer than expected and it forced Venus to miss the rest of 2010, including the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships and Fed Cup final.Venus ended the year ranked fifth in singles, the first time she ended a year in the top five since 2002, while playing only nine tournaments. She finished the year ranked eleventh in doubles.
Venus started 2011 by participating at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic. She lost both her singles matches against Vera Zvonareva and Li Na, but she managed to help team America to win the silver group. Her next tournament was the 2011 Australian Open where she was the fourth seed. She defeated Sara Errani 6–3, 6–2 in the first round. In the second round she defeated Sandra Záhlavová in a close three-setter match which lasted for almost three hours, where Williams won 6–7(8), 6–0, 6–4, after leading 4–1 and holding set point at 5–4 in the first set. Williams took a 10 minute medical time-out after the first set. She revealed in her post match interview that she had acutely strained her psoas major muscle in her right leg whilst reaching for a high ball on the last point of the first set, Williams stated that it was her worst injury she has ever had during her career. Venus retired in the 2nd game in her 3rd round match against the 30th seed Andrea Petkovic. This was Venus’ first ever retirement during a match in a Grand Slam tournament since 1994 and thus, ending her record of most Grand Slam matches without ever retiring, with 250 consecutive matches. This was also her first retirement from a match since LA Women’s Tennis Championships in Los Angeles in 2004, ending her 294 consecutive matches without retiring. Venus also announced that she is pulling out of the Fed Cup quartfinal against Belgium.
Sister Serena Williams
In professional women’s tennis, Venus has played her sister Serena 23 times, accumulating a 10–13 record in the series. They are the only women during the open era to have played each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals. They have met in a total of eight Grand Slam finals, ahead of the number of finals played by Steffi Graf and Arantxa Sánchez Vicario and by Helen Wills Moody and Helen Jacobs but behind the record of fourteen finals set by Chris Evert and Martina Navrátilová. Currently Venus has 43 career tennis titles, Serena has 37. Serena has 1 slam and Venus has 96.
Fight for equal prize money
Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, in 2005 the French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay women’s and men’s players equally through all rounds. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both tournaments, arguing that female tennis players should be paid as much as males. Although WTA tour President Larry Scottcommented that she left “a very meaningful impression”, Williams’s demands were rejected.
The turning point was an essay published in The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006. In it, Williams accused Wimbledon of being on the “wrong side of history”, writing:
In response, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of Parliament publicly endorsed Williams’s arguments. Later that year, the Women’s Tennis Association and UNESCOteamed for a campaign to promote gender equality in sports, asking Williams to lead the campaign. Under enormous pressure, Wimbledon announced in February 2007 that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds, and the French Open followed suit a day later. In the aftermath, the Chicago Sun-Times cited Williams as “the single factor” that “changed the minds of the boys” and a leader whose “willingness to take a public stand separates her not only from most of her female peers, but also from our most celebrated male athletes.” Williams herself commented, “Somewhere in the world a little girl is dreaming of holding a giant trophy in her hands and being viewed as an equal to boys who have similar dreams.”
Venus herself became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer.
Williams’s longtime boyfriend, pro golfer Hank Kuehne, has been a visible presence since Wimbledon 2007, holding her hand during long rain delays and clapping support from the players’ box along with her parents and younger sister Serena. “He’s a great guy”, Williams said. “He understands competition. He’s very supportive. I love having him here and everyone else in the box, too.”
In 2003, Venus and Serena Williams’s older sister Yetunde Price, 31, was shot dead in Compton, California near the courts on which the sisters once practiced. Price was the Williams sisters’ personal assistant. The Williams family issued this statement shortly after the death: “We are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by the shooting death of our beloved Yetunde. She was our nucleus and our rock. She was a personal assistant, confidante, and adviser to her sisters, and her death leaves a void that can never be filled. Our grief is overwhelming, and this is the saddest day of our lives.”
Williams said her family’s faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses has helped her tremendously.
Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm “V Starr Interiors” located in Jupiter, Florida. Williams’s company designed the set of the Tavis Smiley Show on PBS, the Olympic athletes’ apartments as part of the U.S. bid package for New York City to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.
In 2007, Williams teamed with retailer Steve & Barry’s to launch her own fashion line EleVen. “I love fashion and the idea that I am using my design education to actually create clothing and footwear that I will wear on and off the tennis court is a dream come true for me. The vision has been to create a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time. I’m thrilled with everything we’ve created to launch EleVen.”
In August 2009, Venus Williams became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins with sister Serena Williams. The announcement was made during a press conference overlooking the practice field. This made Venus and indeed her sister Serena the first African-American females to obtain ownership in an NFL franchise.Stephan 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. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem.”
In late June 2010, Venus Williams released her first book, entitled “Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession” which she co-wrote with Kelly E. Carter. In promotion of the book she embarked on a tour around America in support of the release, whilst also appearing on several talk shows including The Early Show and Good Morning America. This gave her a place on the top 5 The New York Times Best Seller List.
Records and achievements
|Tournament Name||Years||Record accomplished||Player tied|
|Summer Olympics||2000–08||3 tennis gold medals||Stands alone|
|Sony Ericsson Open||1998–2002||Most consecutive singles matches won at this tournament (22)||Steffi Graf|
|Australian Open||2003||Fastest serve by a woman (125 mph)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2005||Longest women’s singles final||Lindsay Davenport|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-ranked winner (31st)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-seeded winner (23rd)||Stands alone|
|US Open||2007||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2008||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|French Open||2010||Fastest serve by a woman (207 km/h/128.6 mph)||Stands alone|
|1999 French Open – 2010 French Open||1999–2010||Longest streak of consecutive initial Grand Slam finals won (doubles) (12)||Serena Williams|
- In 1997, Williams became the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach the singles final of the US Open on her first attempt.
- In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded singles finalist at the US Open.
- In 1997, the combined ages of Williams at age 17 and Martina Hingis at age 16 in the US Open final were the lowest in the open era history of that tournament.
- At 1999 IGA Classic in Oklahoma City marking the first time in tennis history that sisters won titles in the same week (Serena Williams won Paris).
- At the 1999 Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne became the first pair of sisters in the open era to meet in a tournament final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2000, Williams became the second African-American to win Wimbledon during the open era.
- At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
- By winning the 2001 Australian Open doubles championship, Venus and Serena Williams became the fifth pair to complete a Career Doubles Grand Slam and the only pair to win a Career Doubles Golden Slam.
- The 2001 US Open marked the first time in the open era, and only the second time in 117 years, that sisters met in a Grand Slam singles final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2001, she became the third woman in the open era, after Navratilova and Graf, to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years.
- In February 2002, she became the first African-American woman to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in 1975.
- In 2002 became the first ever siblings to rank Top 2 at same time with sister Serena.
- At Wimbledon in 2003, she reached her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, which since the abolishment of the challenge round system is tied with Wills Moody for fourth behindMartina Navrátilová‘s nine, Billie Jean King‘s five, and Chris Evert‘s five.
- Williams and Hingis hold the open era record for consecutive losses in Grand Slam singles finals (five).
- One of three women, the others being Navratilova and Steffi Graf, to win the Wimbledon singles title at least five times during the open era.
- At Wimbledon in 2009, Williams defeated World No. 1 Dinara Safina in the semifinals 6–1, 6–0, which was the most one-sided women’s semifinal at Wimbledon since 1969, when King defeated Rosemary Casals by the same score.