Born on this day in 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price, Serena is the youngest of her mother’s five daughters.
When she was 3-years-old, the family moved to Compton, California, where her father introduced her and her sister Venus to tennis. Richard decided to home school his daughters while also serving as their official coach and mentor.
Richard again moved the family from Compton to West Palm Beach, Florida, when Serena was 9 so that she could attend the Rick Macci Tennis Academy.
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A year later, her father pulled her out of all national tennis tournaments to allow her to focus on her school work and protect her from the racial bias that was common during tournaments.
Serena made her professional debut at the age of 14 in September 1995 at the Bell Challenge. At the time, she won just two games as she dropped out of the qualifiers to Annie Miller. Three years later, she had her first Grand Slam win when she defeated Martina Hingis at the US Open.
Arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, Serena’s personal life is just as enviable as her professional career. She is married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and they have a lovely daughter, Alexis Ohanian Jr.
Born in 2017, Ohanian Jr. has been Serena’s source of joy and pride and she has never shied away from sharing how her little bundle of joy and inspiration has changed her life.
As Serena celebrates her 38th birthday today, Face2Face Africa shares with you 10 lovely quotes on motherhood from the legendary tennis star: