Serena Williams is retiring from tennis: a look back at her magnificent career

Serena Williams appears on the runway after her Spring 2016 collection was presented during Fashion Week in New York, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2015. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Serena Williams is the top-ranked women’s singles tennis player in the world, considered by many to be the best female tennis player of all time, and she possesses the most major singles, doubles, and mixed doubles titles of any player, male or female. She was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on Saturday, September 26, 1981.

Williams will retire from tennis after the U.S. Open, but she isn’t yet ready to give a specific retirement date or even use the word. Williams stated in the most recent issue of Vogue, “I have never liked the phrase.”

“It doesn’t strike me as a contemporary word, I’ve been referring to this as a transition, but I want to be careful how I use that word since it has a very specific and significant meaning to a group of people.”  Perhaps evolution is the greatest way to sum up what I’m doing, she said.

“I’m here to let you know that I’m evolving away from tennis, toward other things that are important to me,” the tennis great said.

It is imperative to take a trip from where she started to now as we won’t be seeing her play soon anymore as she announced in her interview with Vogue. 

Williams’ parents, Oracene Price and Richard Williams, also taught her older sister Venus. She became a professional in 1995, and the U.S. Open in 1999 saw her claim her first major singles victory. She was unbeatable from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open, winning all four major singles titles (each time defeating Venus in the final) to complete the “Serena Slam,” a non-calendar year Grand Slam and lifetime Grand Slam.

In the years that followed, she took home two more singles titles, despite suffering from injuries and a decline in performance. But beginning in 2007, she gradually recovered from her illnesses and regained the top spot in the international singles rankings. At the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, Williams reclaimed her throne.

More Grand Slam singles titles (23) were won by Williams than by any other woman or man throughout the open era. Serena and her sister Venus also won three Olympic doubles gold medals, for a total of 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, the second-most in the open era. She subsequently took a break from playing tennis professionally after learning she was pregnant, and since starting to play again, she has advanced to four major finals. Together with her sister Venus, Williams has won 14 major women’s doubles championships. She also won two significant mixed doubles championships in 1998.

She is also the most recent woman to hold all four major singles titles at the same time (2002-03 and 2014-2015). She is the most recent player to simultaneously hold all four major women’s doubles titles, along with Venus (2009–10).

Williams earned about $29 million in 2016, making her the highest-paid female athlete in the world. She was Sports Illustrated’s 2015 Sportsperson of the Year. She came in at number 28 on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid athletes in the world in 2021. She is the all-time highest-earning female athlete, with a $260 million net worth, and over $94.5 million awarded in prize money.

Williams has been very phenomenal in her field. Other business efforts of Williams include her own venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, which reportedly raised $111 million for its initial fund in March. She owns her own sustainable clothing company, S by Serena, as well as a portion of a National Women’s Soccer League franchise. She and her sister Venus are also joint minority owners of the NFL’s Miami Dolphins. 

Additionally, she has endorsement deals with a virtually endless number of companies, including Chase Bank, Aston Martin, IBM, Pepsi, Delta Air Lines, Gatorade, and Pepsi.

We wish her the best as she starts another journey in her life.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: August 10, 2022


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