Venus Williams – First African American Number One



Venus Williams (born June 17, 1980) is a former No. 1 American professional tennis player. She has won 20 Grand Slam titles: seven in women’s singles (5 Wimbledon, 2 US Open), eleven in women’s doubles (4 Australian Open, 1 French Open, 4 Wimbledon, 2 US Open) and two in mixed doubles (Australian Open and French Open). Venus Williams has also won 3 Olympic Gold Medals (1 Singles and 2 Doubles).

Personal Life

Coached by father Richard Williams and mother Oracene Price … Sisters are Serena, Isha (lawyer, singer), Lyndrea (actress, singer, stylist, computer science major) and Yetunde (deceased September 14, 2003) … Venus Williams is a Jehovah’s Witness, along with sisters and mother … Launched clothing line EleVen by Venus Williams, the largest line ever launched by a female athlete … Has appeared in Oprah, CNN, CBS Late Night Show, ABC Family reality show starring herself and sister Serena, titled “Venus and Serena: For Real” … Has co-written two books with Serena, titled “How to Play Tennis” (2004) and “Serving From the Hip: 10 Rules for Living, Loving and Winning” (2005) … Reebok endorsement contract is largest ever awarded to a female athlete. …After tennis, would like to continue her careers in interior design and fashion design, and would also like to take up choreography and music production.

Has been a member of the WTA Player Council which advises the Board of Directors, for 10 years .. Is a founding ambassador for the WTA-UNESCO Gender Equality Program, which addresses worldwide gender issues … Glamour® Magazine’s “Woman of the Year” in 2005 … Four-time ESPY® winner; 3 Best Female Tennis player (’01, ’02 & ’06) and 1 Best Female Athlete (’02).

Professional Life

Accumulated a 63-0 record in USTA sectional play in Southern California by age 12.

1994 Made pro debut at 14. Beat world #50 in the first match; then lost to world No.2 Sánchez-Vicario 2-6 6-3 6-0, having led 6-2 3-1.

1997 Breakthrough season … Grand Slam debuts at Roland Garros (l. 2r) and Wimbledon (l. 1r) … reached first Grand Slam final at US Open (l to Hingis) … final between V.Williams (17) and Hingis (16) was youngest major final in Open Era … Broke into top 50 in the world for the first time finishing the year at 22.

1998 Went from outside top 20 at the start to end the year at No. 5 … Won first three tour singles titles … QF at Australian Open (l. to Davenport), Roland Garros (l. to Hingis), Wimbledon (l. to Novotna) and SF at US Open (l. to Davenport) … Served up 127mph ace vs. Pierce in Zürich (would be the fastest serve on Tour for nearly 10 years) … Won first two doubles titles, both with sister Serena … Won first two major titles in mixed doubles, at Australian Open and Roland Garros (both w/Gimelstob); S.Williams would win Wimbledon and US Open (both w/Mirnyi), completing a family mixed doubles Grand Slam.

1999 Won 6 singles titles … QF at Australian Open (l. to Davenport) and Wimbledon (l. to Graf) and SF at US Open (l. to Hingis) … Played first Tour Championships, reaching SF (l. to Hingis) … Finished the year as No. 3.

2000 Venus Williams missed the first four months with tendonitis in both wrists … QF at Roland Garros (l. to Sánchez-Vicario). Then went on a 35-match winning streak that included winning Wimbledon (d. Davenport), US Open (d. Davenport), and Olympics (d. Dementieva). Streak remains longest of the millennium … Won doubles titles at Wimbledon and Olympics (both w/S.Williams) … Year end No. 3.

2001 Defended titles at Wimbledon (d. Henin in final) and US Open (d. S.Williams) … Was first time sisters played for a Grand Slam title since the Watson sisters played in the 1884 Wimbledon final … Reached SF at Australian Open (l. to Hingis) … Won four other titles … Won Australian Open doubles title (w/S.Williams; completed a career doubles Grand Slam, one of five teams to do so) … Year end No. 3 again.

2002 Finished the year at No. 2 although held the No. 1 position several times during the year … Won 7 non-grand slam titles … Runner up at Roland Garros, Wimbledon and US Open (l. to S.Williams in all three finals); Roland Garros and US Open finals were first all-sister finals at those events, and Wimbledon final was first since Watson sisters played for first title there in 1884) … Became first African American to attain No.1 ranking, and on June 10 were first ever siblings to rank Top 2 at same time (V.Williams No.1, S.Williams No.2) … won Wimbledon doubles title (w/S.Williams).

2003 Injury-plagued season resulting in first non-Top 10 finish since 1997 … Won only 1 title which was at Antwerp (d. Clijsters) … Runner up at 2 Grand Slams Australian Open (l. to S.Williams in their fourth straight Grand Slam final) and Wimbledon (l. to S.Williams) … won Australian Open doubles title (w/S.Williams).

2004 Strong return from injury-plagued 2003, finishing in Top 10 at No.9 … Won 2 non Grand Slam events.

2005 Another Top 10 finish (at No.10) in season highlighted by sensational run to fifth career Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon (d. Davenport in epic 2hr 45min final, longest women’s final there in history) … Won one more non Grand Slam title … Struggled from injury and illness during season.

2006 Lowest finish at No 48 in 10 years after injury-marred season.

2007 Sensational comeback highlighted by Wimbledon (d. Bartoli) title and return to Top 10 (finished No. 8) … Won 2 other non Grand Slam titles … Served two 128mph serves during season (once at Roland Garros, once at US Open), bettering her own Tour record of 127mph (1998).

2008 Finished at No 6 … Won Wimbledon (d. S.Williams) and first Tour Championships (d. Zvonareva in final) … Also won Zürich … Won two Tour doubles titles (both w/S.Williams) at Wimbledon (d. Raymond/Stosur) and Olympics (d. Medina Garrigues/Ruano Pascual).

2009 Finished at No. 6 … Won Dubai and Acapulco … Runner-up at Wimbledon (l. S.Williams), Stanford, and Tour Championships (d. S.Williams in final) … Venus Williams won four of six events entered in doubles (w/S.Williams), at Australian Open, Wimbledon, Stanford and US Open (three Grand Slam doubles titles brought career tally to 10, all w/S.Williams).

2010 Venus Williams won the Australian Open doubles title (w/S.Williams; now 11-0 in Grand Slam doubles finals w/S.Williams).