Serena Williams: “My dad was way before his time”

Daughter of Richard Williams, in turn the son of Nigerian emigrants, Serena Williams entered the WTA Tour in 1997, debuting at the Indian Wells tournament, where she was however eliminated in the qualifiers by Alexia Dechaume-Balleret.

Serena and Venus turned professionals in 1994 and 1995 respectively, with careers spanning more than two and a half decades. The sisters, in 1997, also made their debut in a Grand Slam tournament in doubles, more precisely at the US Open, where, however, they did not manage to overcome the first round.

Serena and Venus Williams have won 30 Grand Slam titles in singles, 14 Grand Slam titles in doubles (all won in pairs), one Olympic gold medal in singles each and three Olympic gold medals in doubles.

Serena Williams: “My dad was way before his time”

Serena has the most single Slam titles of any player in the Open era, and is only one Grand Slam behind Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 single slam titles. Richard Williams taught daughters Venus and Serena to become champions, and he was unique in the way he did it, according to Serena.

In an interview with GQ’s Wesley Lowery, Serena said: “My dad was and still is way ahead of his time. You see, when someone is different, when they don’t act or look like a person thought they would, the former reaction is often fear. My father had foreseen it, but he would not allow himself or his family to be broken.”

In women’s doubles and mixed doubles, Serena Williams has won 16 Grand Slam tournaments: 14 won with her older sister Venus and two in mixed doubles, both obtained with Maks Mirny in 1998. To these successes are added another three gold medals to the Olympics, all won together with Venus, a Federation Cup and two Hopman Cups.

In the decade 2000-2010, Venus is instead the player to have won the most at Wimbledon, with five wins out of eight finals (including four consecutive, from 2000 to 2003) and is one of the five tennis players (after Martina Navrátilová, Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Billie Jean King, who, however, had two of her six wins at Wimbledon before 1968) to have won five or more in the Open Era.