- Category : Tennis Player
- Type : PM
- Profile : 6/3 - Role Model / Martyr
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Healing 2
Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player currently ranked no. 1 in women's singles tennis. The Women's Tennis Association has ranked her World No. 1 in singles on six separate occasions. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on July 8, 2002, and regained this ranking for the sixth time on February 18, 2013. She is the only female player to have won over $40 million in prize money.
Regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, her 30 Grand Slam titles ties her for eighth on the all-time list: 15 in singles, 13 in women's doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously ('02–'03) and only the fifth woman ever to do so. Her total of 15 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list, and fourth in the open era, behind Steffi Graf (22 titles) and Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova (18 titles each). Among active players, male or female, she holds the most Major titles amid singles, doubles, and mixed doubles. She has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles with her sister Venus Williams and the pair is unbeaten in Grand Slam finals. Serena Williams is also a three time winner of the WTA Tour Championships
Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in women's singles and three in women's doubles.
Serena Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, to Richard Williams and Oracene Price. She is of African American heritage and is the youngest of Price's five daughters: half-sisters Yetunde (1972–2003), Lyndrea and Isha Price, and full sister Venus. When the children were young, the family moved to Compton, California, where Serena started playing tennis at the age of five. Her father home-schooled Serena and her sister Venus and to this day, Serena Williams was and remains coached by both her parents.
Williams' family moved from Compton to West Palm Beach when she was nine 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' 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 10, 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 46–3 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among under-10 players in Florida. In 1995, when Serena was in the ninth grade, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci's academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home. When asked in 2000 whether having followed the normal path of playing regularly on the junior circuit would have been beneficial, Williams responded: "Everyone does different things. I think for Venus and I, we just tried a different road, and it worked for us."
Williams is primarily a baseline player, with a serve that critics, pundits and tennis experts consider the greatest serve in the history of women's tennis. Her game is built around taking immediate control of rallies with her powerful and consistent serve, return of serve, and forceful groundstrokes from both her forehand and backhand swings. Williams' forehand is considered to be among the most powerful shots in the women's game as is her double-handed backhand. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance, and uses the same open stance for her forehand. Williams's aggressive play, a "high risk" style, is balanced in part by her serve, which combines great power and placement with very high consistency. Her serve has been hit as hard as 129 mph (207.6 km/h), the third-fastest all-time among female players (Venus and Brenda Schultz-McCarthy both recorded the fastest with 130 mph) and is generally considered the greatest female serve of all time. At the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, Serena hit a tournament record of 102 aces which was more than any of the men hit during the two weeks. Serena also possesses a very solid volley and powerful overhead which is very useful for her net game. Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player, she also plays a strong defensive game.
1995–98: Professional debut
Williams's first professional event was in September 1995, at the age of 13, at the Bell Challenge in Quebec City. She lost in the first round of qualifying to world no. 149 Annie Miller in less than an hour of play and earned US$240 in prize money.
Williams did not play a tournament in 1996. The following year, she lost in the qualifying rounds of three tournaments, before winning her first main-draw match in November at the Ameritech Cup Chicago. Ranked world no. 304, she upset world no. 7 Mary Pierce and world no. 4 Monica Seles, recording her first career wins over top 10 players and becoming the lowest-ranked player in the open era to defeat two top 10 opponents in one tournament. She ultimately lost in the semifinals to world no. 5 Lindsay Davenport. She finished 1997 ranked world no. 99.
Williams began 1998 at the Medibank International Sydney. As a qualifier ranked world no. 96, she defeated world no. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals, before losing to Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals. Williams made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open, where she defeated sixth-seeded Irina Spîrlea in the first round, before losing to sister Venus in the second round in the sisters' first professional match. Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year, but lost all of them, including her first match against world no. 1 Martina Hingis at the Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, and her second match against Venus at the Italian Open in Rome. She failed to reach the quarterfinals of any Grand Slam tournament the remainder of the year, losing in the fourth round of the French Open to Sánchez Vicario, and the third round of both Wimbledon and the US Open, to Virginia Ruano Pascual and Spîrlea, respectively. She did, however, win the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family's sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slam tournaments. Williams won her first professional title in doubles in Oklahoma City with Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA title. The Williams sisters won two more doubles titles together during the year. Serena finished the year ranked world no. 20 in singles.
1999–2001: Becoming a top-10 player
Williams had just lost in the third round of the 1999 Australian Open to Sandrine Testud. The following month, she won her first professional singles title, when she defeated Australian Open runner-up Amélie Mauresmo in the final of the Open Gaz de France in Paris. With Venus also winning the IGA Superthrift Classic in Oklahoma City that day, the pair became the first sisters to win professional tournaments in the same week. A month later, Serena won her first Tier I singles title at the Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California by defeating world no. 7 Steffi Graf in the final. At the following tournament, the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Williams defeated world no. 1 Martina Hingis in the semifinals, before Venus ended her 16-match winning streak in the first all-sister singles final in WTA history. On April 5, 1999, Serena made her top-10 debut at world no. 9.
Williams played three tournaments during the 1999 European spring clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to World No. 1 Hingis and in the quarterfinals of the Tier I German Open in Berlin to World No. 7 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario. Serena and Venus won the women's doubles title at the French Open, but Serena was upset by Mary Joe Fernandez in the third round of the singles competition. She then missed Wimbledon because of injury.
When she returned to the tour, Williams won a Fed Cup singles match, before playing two tournaments during the 1999 North American summer hard-court season. She won the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles, defeating world no. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and Julie Halard-Decugis in the final. Williams was seeded seventh at the US Open, where she defeated world no. 4 Monica Seles, world no. 2 Lindsay Davenport, and world no. 1 Hingis to become the second African-American woman (after Althea Gibson in 1958) to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this tournament, their second Grand Slam title together.
To complete 1999, Williams won a doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Russia, her third tournament of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, and lost in the second round of the tournament in Filderstadt. Williams ended the year ranked world no. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams started 2000 by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to 16th-seeded Elena Likhovtseva. She failed to defend her titles in Paris and Indian Wells, although she did win the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover. Williams missed the French Open because of injury. She returned at Wimbledon, where she lost to eventual champion Venus in the semifinals after Serena had lost just 13 games in advancing to the second Grand Slam semifinal of her career. The Williams sisters teamed to win the doubles title at the event. Williams successfully defended her title in Los Angeles in August, defeating world no. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and world no. 2 Davenport in the final. She reached the final of the Du Maurier Open in Montreal, Canada the following week, where an injury forced her to retire from her match with Hingis. Her defense of the US Open title ended when she lost in the quarterfinals to second-seeded Davenport. Williams teamed with Venus to win the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics in September. She then won her third singles title of the year the following week at the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo. She finished the year ranked world no. 6.
Williams played two tournaments in Australia at the beginning of 2001, losing to number one in the world, Martina Hingis, in the quarterfinals of both the tournament in Sydney and the Australian Open. Serena and her sister Venus won the women's doubles title at the latter tournament, becoming only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles during their career, a "Career Grand Slam".
She did not play again until March, when she defeated Kim Clijsters in the final of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells, California. She advanced to the final there when Venus withdrew just before the start of their semifinal match. Venus claimed that an injury prevented her from playing, but the withdrawal was controversial. Neither Williams sister has entered the tournament since. The following week at the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams lost to Jennifer Capriati in the quarterfinals.
Williams did not play a clay-court tournament before the 2001 French Open, where she lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati. Williams also did not play a grass-court tournament before Wimbledon, where she again lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati, marking the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament at which Williams had exited in the quarterfinals.
Williams played three tournaments during the 2001 North American summer hard-court season. After losing in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Los Angeles, Williams captured her second title of the year at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating Seles in the semifinals and world no. 3 Capriati in the final. Williams was seeded tenth at the US Open, where she defeated world no. 6 and Wimbledon runner-up Justine Henin in the fourth round, world no. 3 Davenport in the quarterfinals, and world no. 1 Hingis in the semifinals, before losing to sister Venus in the final. That was the first Grand Slam final contested by two sisters during the open era.
At the 2001-ending Sanex Championships in Munich, Williams defeated Silvia Farina Elia, Henin, and Testud en route to the final. She then won the championship by walkover when Davenport withdrew before the start of the final because of a knee injury. Williams finished 2001 at world no. 6 for the second straight year.
2002–03: "Serena Slam"
Injury forced Williams to retire from her semifinal match at the Medibank International Sydney and to withdraw from the 2002 Australian Open. She won her first title of the year at the State Farm Women's Tennis Classic in Scottsdale, Arizona, defeating world no. 2 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne for the first time, becoming one of three players in the open era to defeat the world's top 3 at one tournament, after beating world no. 3 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, world no. 2 and sister Venus in the semifinals, and world no. 1 Capriati in the final. Her 6–2, 6–2 win over Venus was her second career win over her sister.
Williams played three clay court tournaments before the 2002 French Open. Her first tournament was at Charleston, where she was the third seed. Serena reached the quarterfinals after wins over Jennifer Hopkins and Nathalie Dechy, but eventually lost to world no. 30, Patty Schnyder. She reached her first clay-court final in May, at the Eurocard German Open in Berlin, losing to Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak. The following week, Williams won her first clay court title at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, defeating Capriati in the semifinals and Henin in the final. This raised her ranking to a new high of world no. 3. Williams, as the third seed at the French Open, made the last eight at the tournament with wins over Martina Sucha, Dally Randriantefy, Janette Husárová, and a three-set win over Vera Zvonareva. In her quarterfinal match, she defeated '00 champion, Mary Pierce in two quick sets. In the semifinals, she faced defending champion and world no. 1, Jennifer Capriati. After an outstanding display of tennis, Williams advanced to her first French Open final where she would face world no. 2 and older sister, Venus. Serena won in two sets to claim her second Grand Slam tournament title, her first in almost two and a half years. Serena rose to a career high of no. 2 after the win, second only to older sister Venus
At the 2002 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated Evie Dominikovic, Francesca Schiavone, Els Callens, and Chanda Rubin to reach her third Wimbledon quarterfinal. In her next match, Williams breezed past Daniela Hantuchová and Amélie Mauresmo to reach the final for the first time. There, she again defeated defending champion and no. 1 Venus to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set for the first time in her career. This victory earned Williams the world no. 1 ranking, dethroning her sister and becoming only the second African-American woman to hold that ranking. The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at the tournament, the fifth Grand Slam doubles title for the pair.
Williams played just one tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the quarterfinals of the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles to Chanda Rubin, ending a 21-match winning streak. As the top-seeded player at the US Open, she defeated Corina Morariu, future rival Dinara Safina, Nathalie Dechy, and Dája Bedá?ová to make her fourth consecutive quarterfinal, where she crushed Daniela Hantuchová to book a place in the semifinals against former champion and no. 1 Lindsay Davenport. It marked the fourth consecutive time she face Davenport at the US Open. After a tight second set, Serena made her third US Open final in four years, where she faced Venus once more. Serena won the US Open title for the second time with a two set win in the final, making it her fourth Grand Slam singles title to date.
Williams won two consecutive singles titles in the fall, defeating Kim Clijsters to win the Toyota Princess Cup in Tokyo, and Anastasia Myskina to win the Sparkassen Cup in Leipzig, Germany. She reached the final at the year-end Home Depot Championships, where she lost to fifth seeded Clijsters in straight sets, ending her 18-match winning streak.
Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the world no. 1 ranking. She was the first African-American (male or female) to end a year with that ranking since Althea Gibson in 1958. She was the first woman to win three Grand Slam titles in one year since Hingis in 1997.
At the 2003 Australian Open, Williams went on to reach the semifinals for the first time, where she recovered from 5–1 down in the third set and saved two match points, before defeating Clijsters. She faced her sister Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final and won to become the sixth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf, and Margaret Court. She also became the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously, joining Maureen Connolly Brinker, Court, Graf, and Navratilova. The Williams sisters won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured singles titles at the Open Gaz de France in Paris and the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, defeating Clijsters in the semifinals and Capriati in the final. The following week, Williams lost the final at the clay-court Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina to Henin, her first loss of the year after 21 wins. She also lost to Mauresmo in the semifinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. Despite these losses, Williams was the top seed at the French Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Henin, marking Williams's first loss in a Grand Slam tournament since 2001. The match was controversial, as Williams questioned Henin's sportsmanship, and spectators applauded Williams's errors. She was known to be dating professional football player LaVar Arrington at the time.
Williams rebounded from the loss at the 2003 Wimbledon Championships, defeating Henin in the semifinals and Venus in the final. This was Williams' second consecutive Wimbledon title and her sixth Grand Slam singles title overall. This was her last tournament of the year, as knee surgery prevented her from competing in the year's remaining events, including the US Open. As a result, she lost the world no. 1 ranking to Clijsters in August, having held it for 57 consecutive weeks. Williams finished the year ranked world no. 3 and with four titles. On September 14, 2003, while Williams was still recovering from surgery, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered.
2004–06: Injuries and inconsistent results
Williams withdrew from the Australian Open to continue rehabilitating her left knee. She then withdrew from further tournaments, which generated speculation that she was losing interest in the sport. After eight months away from the tour, Williams began her comeback at the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she defeated 16-year-old Russian Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and world no. 8 Elena Dementieva in the final. This was the third consecutive year that Williams had won this tournament.
She then played three clay-court tournaments leading up to the French Open. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, and, the following week at the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, she withdrew before her third-round match because of an injured knee. She was away from the tour for four weeks before playing the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, where she lost to world no. 9 Jennifer Capriati in the semifinals. Although ranked world no. 7, she was seeded second at the French Open. She won her first four matches over players ranked outside the top 50, before Capriati beat her in the quarterfinals. This was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001.
She was seeded first at Wimbledon, even though her ranking had dropped to world no. 10. She reached the final, where she was defeated by 13th-seeded Sharapova. This loss caused her ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since early 1999.
Williams reached her third final of the year at the JPMorgan Chase Open in Los Angeles on hard courts. She lost there to Lindsay Davenport which was her first loss to Davenport since the 2000 US Open. Williams then withdrew before her quarterfinal match at the Acura Classic in San Diego with another left knee injury. This injury caused her to miss both the Tier I Rogers AT&T Cup in Montreal and the Athens Olympics. She returned for the US Open, where she was seeded third even though she was ranked world no. 11. She lost there in the quarterfinals to world no. 8 Capriati in three sets. This match featured several missed line calls, including one that led to the suspension of the chair umpire for the remainder of the tournament. This match is commonly referred to as the impetus for the current challenge system.
Williams played only three tournaments the remainder of the year. She won her second title of the year at the China Open in Beijing, in which she defeated US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. Five weeks later, she lost in the second round of the tournament in Linz, Austria to world no. 73 Alina Jidkova, but still qualified for the WTA Tour Championships. In the round-robin phase of the tournament, she defeated world no. 5 Dementieva, lost to world no. 1 Davenport, and defeated world no. 3 Anastasia Myskina. She lost to world no. 6 Sharapova in the final. Williams trailed 5–2 in the second set, when she asked for treatment of an abdominal injury that caused her to serve around 65 mph. She led 4–0 in the third set, before Sharapova won the last six games of the match. Williams finished 2004 ranked world no. 7, but did not win a Grand Slam singles tournament for the first time since 2001.
At the 2005 Australian Open, Williams rejected suggestions that she and sister Venus were a declining force in tennis, following Venus's early exit at the tournament. In the quarterfinals, Williams defeated second-seeded Mauresmo. In the semifinals, she saved three match points in defeating fourth-seeded Sharapova in a third set tiebreak. In the final, Williams defeated world no. 1 Davenport to win her second Australian Open singles title and seventh Grand Slam singles title. The win moved Williams back to world no. 2, and she stated that she was now targeting the no. 1 spot.
She did not, however, reach the final at any of her next five tournaments. She withdrew before her quarterfinal match at the Open Gaz de France in Paris, citing a stomach illness. Three weeks later, she retired from her semifinal match with Jelena Jankovi? at the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open, citing a strained tendon in her right shoulder. Four weeks later, she lost to sister Venus for the first time since 2001 in the quarterfinals of the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne. The following week, a left ankle injury forced her to retire from her quarterfinal match on clay at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island. Five weeks away from the tour did not improve her results, as she lost in the second round of the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome to Francesca Schiavone. The ankle injury also caused her to miss the French Open.
She returned for Wimbledon as the fourth seeded player, but, after struggling through her first two matches in three sets, she was defeated in the third round by world no. 85 Jill Craybas.
After winning her first match at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, a recurrence of her left knee injury caused her to withdraw from the tournament. At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams played just one more match the remainder of the year, a loss to world no. 127 Sun Tiantian at the tournament in Beijing. She failed to qualify for the year-end championship for the first time since 1998. She finished the year 2005 ranked world no. 11, her first time finishing outside of the top 10 since 1998.
Williams did not participate in any of the official warm-up tournaments for the 2006 Australian Open. Williams was the defending champion at the Australian Open, but fell to world no. 17 Daniela Hantuchová in the third round. She then withdrew from tournaments in Tokyo (citing her lack of fitness) and Dubai and from the Tier I NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne (citing a knee injury and lack of fitness). On April 10, her ranking fell out of the top 100 for the first time since November 16, 1997. Shortly after, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon because of a chronic knee injury. She said that she would not be able to compete before "the end of the summer", on doctor's orders.
Williams returned to the Tour in July at the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati. Ranked world no. 139 because of her inactivity, she defeated world no. 11 Myskina in the first round before losing in the semifinals to eventual champion Vera Zvonareva. She also reached the semifinals in Los Angeles, losing to world no. 28 Jankovi? in straight sets.
At the US Open, Williams was unseeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1998 and needed a wildcard to enter the tournament because her ranking was too low. She lost to top-seeded Mauresmo in the fourth round. She did not play again in 2006, ending the year ranked world no. 95. This was her lowest year-end ranking since 1997. Williams played just four tournaments in 2006.
2007–08: Return to the top 10
Williams began 2007 with renewed confidence, stating her intention to return to the top of the rankings, a comment former player and commentator Pat Cash branded "deluded."
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Hobart, Australia, a warm-up for the Australian Open. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her world no. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as "out of shape. In the third round, however, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova, which was her first win over a top-10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. In the final, Williams defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova to win her third Australian Open singles title and her eighth Grand Slam singles title. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described by TENNIS.com as "one of the best performances of her career" and by BBC Sport as "arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women's tennis."
Williams next played at the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida in late March. In the final, Williams defeated world no. 1 Justine Henin in three sets after saving 2 match points at 40–15 in the second set.
At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina on clay courts, Williams retired from her second-round match because of a groin pull. The following week, Williams won her first singles match in the first round Fed Cup tie against Belgium on hard courts, but withdrew from the second singles match to rest her knee. Williams played only one clay-court tournament in Europe before the French Open. In Rome at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Williams lost to 14th-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the quarterfinals. After the tournament, however, she re-entered the top 10 at world no. 9. As the eighth seed at the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Henin. Williams said her performance was "hideous and horrendous" and worse than ever. She also said that she felt "violated".
Despite the loss, Williams was one of the favorites for the Wimbledon title. During her fourth round match against Daniela Hantuchová, Williams collapsed from an acute muscle spasm at 5–5 in the second set. After a medical timeout and holding serve to force a tiebreak, rain forced play to be suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned, Williams won the match in three sets. Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with world no. 1 Henin. Williams started the match with a heavily taped calf and was forced to use a one-handed backhand slice because of a left thumb injury. Williams was criticized for claiming after the match that she would have beaten Henin had Williams been healthy. After Wimbledon, Williams moved up to world no. 7, her highest ranking since 2005.
Because of the thumb injury, Williams did not play a tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open. At the US Open, she beat 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, but lost her third consecutive Grand Slam singles quarterfinal to Henin in two sets.
In October, Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Stuttgart to world no. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova. Williams then reached her third final of the year at the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, defeating Kuznetsova in the semifinals, before losing to Elena Dementieva. Nevertheless, Williams's performances at these tournaments raised her ranking to world no. 5 and qualified her for the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. Her participation there was short. Because of injury, she retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze, after losing the first set, and then withdrew from the tournament. Williams finished 2007 as World No. 7 and the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
Williams started 2008 by participating on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup for the fifth time in Perth, Australia. Williams was the seventh seed at the Australian Open, but lost in the quarterfinals to world no. 4 and third-seeded Jelena Jankovi?. This was her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women's doubles event, Serena and her sister Venus lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team of Zheng Jie and Yan Zi.
Williams then withdrew from three tournaments because of an urgent need for dental surgery. Upon her return to the Tour, Williams won three consecutive singles titles. At the Tier II tournament in Bangalore, India, Serena defeated sister Venus in the semifinals after Serena saved a match point at 5–6 in the third set. This was the first time they had played each other since the fourth round of the 2005 US Open. Serena then defeated Schnyder in the final. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Williams won her fifth career singles title there, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams defeated world no. 1 Henin in the quarterfinals, world no. 3 Kuznetsova in the semifinals, and world no. 4 Jankovi? in the final. This was her 30th career singles title.
At the clay-court Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, Williams defeated, for the fourth consecutive time, second-seeded Sharapova in the quarterfinals. In the final, Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva to capture her tenth career Tier I title and first clay-court title since the 2002 French Open. Her 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin. Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and made it to the quarterfinals, where Alizé Cornet received a walkover over Williams because of a back injury.
Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the French Open. Although she was the only former winner of this tournament in this year's draw, following the sudden retirement of four-time champion Henin, she lost in the third round to 27th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik.
At Wimbledon, the sixth-seeded Williams reached the finals for the first time in four years. She defeated former world no. 1 and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo in the third round, before losing the final to her older sister Venus in straight sets. This was the first Grand Slam final in which the Williams sisters had played each other since 2003. Serena and Venus then teamed to win the women's doubles title without dropping a set the entire tournament, their first Grand Slam women's doubles title since 2003.
Williams then played four World Team Tennis matches for the Washington Kastles, contributing 49 points for her team.
Williams was seeded first at the tournament in Stanford, California, but retired from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak while trailing 6–2, 3–1 because of a left knee injury. That injury caused Williams to withdraw from the tournament in Los Angeles the following week.
Playing in the singles draw at the Olympics for the first time in Beijing, Williams was the fourth-seeded player in singles, but lost to fifth-seeded and eventual gold-medalist Dementieva in the quarterfinals. Serena and her sister Venus won the gold medal in doubles to add to their victory at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, beating the Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final.
Williams was seeded fourth at the US Open and defeated her seventh-seeded sister Venus in the quarterfinals. Serena trailed 5–3 in both sets and saved two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set. Williams then defeated Safina in the semifinals and second-seeded Jelena Jankovi? in the final, after saving four set points at 5–3 in the second set. This was her third US Open and ninth Grand Slam singles title. This victory returned her to the world no. 1 ranking for the first time since 2003.
At the Tier 2 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Williams was the top seed, but lost to world no. 30 Li Na in the second round. Serena also played doubles, partnered with her sister Venus, but they withdrew after winning their first round match because of a left ankle injury to Serena. On October 3, Williams announced her withdrawal from the Tier 1 Kremlin Cup in Moscow, citing a continuing left ankle injury and a desire to give her body time to recover from a packed playing schedule. Because of her withdrawal, she lost the world no. 1 ranking to Jankovi?.
Return to the Tour Championships
Williams defeated Safina in her first round-robin match at the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, before losing to her sister Venus in her second round-robin match. She then withdrew from her match against Dementieva, citing a stomach muscle injury. She ended the year ranked world no. 2 and with four singles titles, her strongest performance in both respects since 2003.
2009–10: Repeat Australian and Wimbledon singles titles
At the Medibank International in Sydney, top-seeded Williams lost in the semifinals to Russian Elena Dementieva for the third consecutive time.
Williams was seeded second at the Australian Open. She claimed her tenth Grand Slam singles title by defeating Dinara Safina in the final in 59 minutes. This win returned her to the world no. 1 ranking and resulted in her becoming the all-time career prize money leader in women's sports, overtaking golfer Annika Sörenstam. In women's doubles, Serena and her sister Venus captured the title for the third time.
At the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, Williams withdrew from the tournament before her scheduled semifinal with Dementieva because of a knee injury. Williams was the top seed at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, a Premier 5 event on the tour. She defeated former world no. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals, before losing to her sister Venus in the semifinals.
At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, a Premier Mandatory event, Williams was upset in the final by 11th seeded Victoria Azarenka. This was the first of four consecutive losses for Williams, the longest losing streak of her career. She was defeated in her opening match at her first three clay-court events of the year, including the Premier 5 Internazionali d'Italia in Rome and the Premier Mandatory Mutua Madrilena Madrid Open. She lost the world no. 1 ranking to Safina on April 20. Despite not having won a match on clay in 2009 before the French Open, she reached the quarterfinals there, before losing to the eventual champion Svetlana Kuznetsova. This ended her 18-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak.
She rebounded at Wimbledon, saving a match point in defeating fourth seeded Dementieva in the semifinals. In the final, Serena defeated her sister Venus to win her third Wimbledon title and her 11th Grand Slam singles title. Although Williams was now holding three of the four Grand Slam singles titles, she continued to trail Safina in the WTA rankings, a fact Williams publicly mocked. Williams and her sister Venus teamed to win the women's doubles title at Wimbledon for the second consecutive year, their ninth Grand Slam title in women's doubles.
Following Wimbledon, Williams played two Premier 5 tournaments before the US Open. She lost in the third round of the Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open in Cincinnati and in the semifinals, to world no. 5 Dementieva, of the Rogers Cup in Toronto.
She was seeded second at the US Open, where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters amid controversy involving shouting at a line judge when defending match point, an offense which ultimately cost Williams the point and therefore the match. She continued in the doubles competition, teaming up with Venus to win their third Grand Slam doubles title of the year and tenth of their career.
Williams played only two tournaments after the US Open. At the Premier Mandatory China Open in Beijing, she was defeated in the third round by Nadia Petrova. Williams won all three of her round-robin matches at the year-end WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar, defeating world no. 7 Venus Williams, world no. 5 Dementieva, and world no. 3 Kuznetsova. She saved a match point against Venus, before winning in a third-set tiebreak. She then advanced to the final, when US Open runner-up Wozniacki retired from their semifinal match while trailing, 6–4, 0–1. In the final, Williams played Venus for the second time in four days, winning once again against her tired and error-stricken sister. This was Serena's second singles title at this event.
Williams finished the year ranked world no. 1 for the second time in her career, having played in 16 tournaments, more than any other year. She also broke the record previously set by Justine Henin for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in one year, with Williams earning $6,545,586. In doubles, the Williams sisters finished the year ranked world no. 2, despite playing only six tournaments as a pair. She won five Grand Slam titles, putting her total Grand Slam titles at 23.
Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press in a landslide vote (66 of 158 votes – no other candidate received more than 18 votes). She also was the International Tennis Federation World Champion in singles and doubles.
Williams's first scheduled tournament was the Medibank International Sydney. She defeated Frenchwoman Aravane Rezaï in the semifinals in three sets after trailing 5–2 in the second set and being two points from defeat. She then lost the final to world no. 5 and defending champion Elena Dementieva.
At the Australian Open, Williams was the defending champion in both singles and doubles. She reached the singles quarterfinals without losing a service game or a set, where she eliminated Victoria Azarenka in three sets after trailing 4–0 in the second set. In the semifinals, Williams defeated 16th seeded Li Na on her fifth match point to reach her fifth final in Melbourne and her fifteenth Grand Slam singles final. She then defeated 2004 champion Justine Henin for her twelfth Grand Slam singles title. This was the first time that Henin and Williams had played each other in a Grand Slam tournament final. Williams is the first female player to win consecutive Australian Open singles titles since Jennifer Capriati in 2001–02. In doubles, Serena and Venus successfully defended their title by defeating the top-ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final.
A leg injury then caused Williams to withdraw from five consecutive tournaments, including the Premier 5 Dubai Tennis Championships and the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne. She returned to the WTA Tour at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, where she lost to Jelena Jankovi? in the semifinals after failing to convert a match point while serving at 5–4 in the third set, and then surrendering a 5–2 lead in the deciding tiebreaker.
At the Mutua Madrileña Madrid Open, she received a first-round bye. In her first match, she made 73 unforced errors in defeating Vera Dushevina in the longest match of her career, 3 hours, 26 minutes, in three tiebreaks. Williams saved a match point at 6–5 in the second set, then injured her upper leg early in the third set. She then fell to 16th seeded Nadia Petrova. Williams won only two of her eighteen opportunities to break Petrova's serve. She teamed with Venus to win the doubles title.
At the French Open, she lost to Samantha Stosur in the quarterfinals. Williams made 46 unforced errors and squandered a match point at 5–4 in the final set. It was the first Grand Slam tournament that Williams had not won or been defeated by the eventual champion since the 2008 French Open. Williams had not advanced past the quarterfinals at this event since 2003. She also played doubles with Venus as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals improved their doubles ranking to world no. 1. They then defeated 12th seeds Kv?ta Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women's doubles title.
Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she defeated Russian Vera Zvonareva in the final without facing a break point and breaking the serve of Zvonareva three times. She did not lose a set in the tournament. After the match, Martina Navratilova said that Williams is in the top 5 of all the women's tennis players in all of history, which she said that "it's not just about how many Slams you win or how many tournaments you win—it's just your game overall. And she’s definitely got all the goods." Serena was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Venus, winning the last two years. They lost in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Zvonareva.
In Munich on July 7, Williams stepped on broken glass while in a restaurant. She received 18 stitches, but the following day she lost an exhibition match to Kim Clijsters in Brussels before a world-record crowd for a tennis match, 35,681 at the King Baudouin Stadium. The cut foot turned out to be a serious injury, requiring surgery and preventing her from playing for the remainder of 2010. As a result, she lost the world no. 1 ranking to Dane Caroline Wozniacki on October 11, 2010 and ended the year ranked no. 4 in singles, despite having played only six tournaments, and no. 11 in doubles after four tournaments.
2011–13: The Comeback
Return to competition at the 2011 AEGON International
In 2011, because of her continuing rehabilitation for her foot injury, Serena withdrew from the 2011 Hopman Cup and the 2011 Australian Open. On March 2, 2011, she confirmed that she had suffered a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism. She made her first appearance on the WTA tour in almost a year at the 2011 AEGON International in Eastbourne, winning her first match since Wimbledon, against Tsvetana Pironkova, but lost to top-seeded world no. 3 Vera Zvonareva in the second round, in a match that lasted over three hours. Her next tournament was Wimbledon, where she was the defending champion. She reached the round of 16, where she lost to ninth seed, Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli. Williams then played in Stanford as an unseeded player. Serena won her first final of the season, against Marion Bartoli in two sets. Serena won her 38th career WTA singles title and her first title in 2011. She then followed it up by advancing to her second consecutive final. In the final, Serena defeated Samantha Stosur to win her second consecutive title and her 39th career title overall. At the Western & Southern Open, Serena defeated Lucie Hradecka, only to withdraw the next day, citing a right toe injury. Next on her schedule was the US Open. She was seeded 28th and moved to finals by defeating Bojana Jovanovski, Michaëlla Krajicek, Victoria Azarenka, Ana Ivanovic, Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, and world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals. She lost the final to Samantha Stosur, during a match which featured her verbally abusing the chair umpire. The US Open final turned out to be Williams' last match in 2011, and she ended the year ranked world no. 12 with 2 titles and with a 22–3 record for the season. She only participated in six tournaments throughout the season.
2012 Career Golden Slam
In 2012, Williams started the year by playing her debut at Brisbane International, However, during her match against Bojana Jovanovski, she injured her left ankle when serving for the match late in the second set. As a result, Williams was forced to withdraw from the tournament. Next she participated at the Australian Open where she was upset by Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round. Williams returned to competition in Miami losing in the quarterfinals to Caroline Wozniacki. A week later, she won her first title of the season at Charleston after defeating Lucie Šafá?ová in straight sets. Williams started her European clay court season in Madrid, she advanced to her second consecutive final defeating the world no.1, Victoria Azarenka in the final. She participated in Rome but withdrew before her semifinals match against Li Na citing a lower back injury. Williams headed to the French Open as the heavy favorite to win the title. In the first round, the fifth-seeded Williams was drawn against France's Virginie Razzano. She lost to the Frenchwoman marking the first time she lost in a Grand Slam opener in her career. Williams also returned to mixed doubles competition for the first time since the 1999 Australian Open, playing with Bob Bryan but lost to Gisela Dulko and Eduardo Schwank in the first round. Immediately after her French Open exit, Williams began working with French tennis coach Patrick Mouratoglou of the Moratoglou Tennis Academy.
Williams won the singles gold medal
Williams' next stop was Wimbledon. In singles, she defeated Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová, Melinda Czink, 25th-seeded Zheng Jie in the first three round. She next defeated Yaroslava Shvedova and Petra Kvitová, then took out second-seeded Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals, setting the Wimbledon record with 24 aces. In the final, she defeated third-seeded Agnieszka Radwa?ska. It was her 14th grand slam singles title and 5th Wimbledon singles title, she tied Venus who has also won 5 at Wimbledon. Williams also returned to doubles competition at Wimbledon, she played alongside her sister, Venus. In just the pair's first tournament since 2010 Wimbledon, they beat sixth-seeded Andrea Hlavá?ková and Lucie Hradecká in the final. It was their 5th Wimbledon doubles title and the 13th grand slam doubles title for the duo. Williams then played in Stanford, advancing to the first All-American finals on U.S. soil since 2004 as defeating Coco Vandeweghe.
Next, Williams traveled back to London to participate at the 2012 Summer Olympics which was held in the same venue as Wimbledon. Williams won the Gold Medal in singles after defeating the world no.1, Azarenka in the semifinals and Maria Sharapova in the final. With this victory, she completed a Career Golden Slam in singles; thus becoming only the second woman to do so, after Steffi Graf. Moreover, she is also the first tennis player, male or female, to hold a career golden slam in singles and doubles. Along with her sister Venus, Williams also entered the doubles event in the Olympics. The unseeded sisters advanced to the final which was a repeat of Wimbledon's final against Hlavá?ková and Hradecká defeating the Czech pair in two sets. With this victory, Venus and Serena Williams became the only tennis players in Olympic history to win four gold medals.
After a week off Serena returned to action at 2012 Western & Southern Open, where her 19-match win streak was snapped when she lost in quarterfinals to Angelique Kerber. At the US Open Serena defeated No. 1 seed Victoria Azarenka in three tough sets to win her 4th US Open and 15th career Grand Slam title. Her final scheduled tournament was the 2012 WTA Championships in Istanbul where she went 3–0 in her group defeating Kerber, Li, and Azarenka to advance into the semifinals where she defeated Agnieszka Radwa?ska to advance to her 5th WTA Championships Finals. She defeated No. 2 seed Maria Sharapova to win her third WTA Championships Finals and her 7th title in 2012. Serena Williams was voted WTA Player of the Year for 2012, the fourth time she has won this award. Based on her brilliant show in 2012, Serena was named as International Tennis Federation world champion.
2013 Return to Number One
In 2013, Williams' first scheduled tournament of the season was Brisbane where she was the third seed. She won the tournament without dropping a set, defeating Russia's Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final and capturing her first title of 2013. Next she played the 2013 Australian Open where she rolled her right ankle in the first round. Nevertheless, she won the match and reached the quarterfinals where she lost to fellow American player Sloane Stephens. During her match against Sloane, Serena took a medical timeout, after having a back spasm. Nevertheless, her performance escalated her ranking to world no.2. She teamed with sister Venus in doubles. They lost in the quarterfinals to top seeds Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci. Serena's next tournament was in Qatar, where she was the second seed. Her win over Petra Kvitova in the quarter final guaranteed that she would return to the top ranking. She beat Maria Sharapova in the semi final, but lost to Victoria Azarenka in the final. Williams was set to compete at the Dubai Tennis Championships, but withdrew from the tournament due to a lower back injury.
Grand Slam tournaments
Grand Slam tournament performance timeline
Tournament 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 SR W–L
Australian Open 2R 3R 4R QF A W A W 3R W QF W W A 4R QF 5 / 13 58–8
French Open 4R 3R A QF W SF QF A A QF 3R QF QF A 1R 1 / 11 39–10
Wimbledon 3R A SF QF W W F 3R A QF F W W 4R W 5 / 13 67–8
US Open 3R W QF F W A QF 4R 4R QF W SF A F W 4 / 12 65–9
Win–Loss 8–4 11–2 12–3 18–4 21–0 19–1 14–3 12–2 5–2 19–3 19–3 23–2 18–1 9–2 17–2 4–1 15 / 50 229–35
Grand Slam tournament finals
Singles: 19 (15 titles, 4 runner-ups)
Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1999 US Open Hard Martina Hingis 6–3, 7–6(7–4)
Runner-up 2001 US Open Hard Venus Williams 2–6, 4–6
Winner 2002 French Open Clay Venus Williams 7–5, 6–3
Winner 2002 Wimbledon Grass Venus Williams 7–6(7–4), 6–3
Winner 2002 US Open (2) Hard Venus Williams 6–4, 6–3
Winner 2003 Australian Open Hard Venus Williams 7–6(7–4), 3–6, 6–4
Winner 2003 Wimbledon (2) Grass Venus Williams 4–6, 6–4, 6–2
Runner-up 2004 Wimbledon Grass Maria Sharapova 1–6, 4–6
Winner 2005 Australian Open (2) Hard Lindsay Davenport 2–6, 6–3, 6–0
Winner 2007 Australian Open (3) Hard Maria Sharapova 6–1, 6–2
Runner-up 2008 Wimbledon (2) Grass Venus Williams 5–7, 4–6
Winner 2008 US Open (3) Hard Jelena Jankovi? 6–4, 7–5
Winner 2009 Australian Open (4) Hard Dinara Safina 6–0, 6–3
Winner 2009 Wimbledon (3) Grass Venus Williams 7–6(7–3), 6–2
Winner 2010 Australian Open (5) Hard Justine Henin 6–4, 3–6, 6–2
Winner 2010 Wimbledon (4) Grass Vera Zvonareva 6–3, 6–2
Runner-up 2011 US Open (2) Hard Samantha Stosur 2–6, 3–6
Winner 2012 Wimbledon (5) Grass Agnieszka Radwa?ska 6–1, 5–7, 6–2
Winner 2012 US Open (4) Hard Victoria Azarenka 6–2, 2–6, 7–5
Women's doubles: 13 finals (13 titles)
Outcome Year Championship Partner Opponent Score
Winner 1999 French Open Venus Williams Martina Hingis
Anna Kournikova 6–3, 6–7(2–7), 8–6
Winner 1999 US Open Venus Williams Chanda Rubin
Sandrine Testud 4–6, 6–1, 6–4
Winner 2000 Wimbledon Venus