Venus Williams Biography, Parents, Career, Records, Honours, Businesses

Venus Williams began playing tennis on public courts in Los Angeles and went on to win seven Grand Slam titles and an Olympic gold medal in singles play after turning professional in 1994. She also teamed up with sister Serena Williams to win several doubles championships, increasing her victory total even after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in 2011.

Early Life

Venus Ebony Starr Williams was born to Richard and Oracene Williams on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. Venus, one of Richard’s five children, has changed women’s tennis with her power and outstanding athleticism, together with her younger sister, Serena.

Williams has won seven Grand Slam titles since turning pro in 1994, including five Wimbledon Championships. Her father, Richard Williams, introduced her to tennis on public courts in Los Angeles, not far from the family’s home in Compton. Richard Williams, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, taught his daughters the game using what he learned from books and films.

Turning Pro

Williams’ serve had reached 100 miles per hour by the age of ten, and she utilized it to go 63-0 on the United States Tennis Association junior tour. She went pro on October 31, 1994. She proved she was more than ready for this when she defeated No. 50-seeded Shaun Stafford in her first match at the Bank of the West Classic in California. It was a historic moment for the Williams family. Richard, in particular, was unafraid to tell the tennis world that his girls would transform the game. “That’s one for the ghetto!” he said during the post-victory press conference.

Tennis Career

Williams became the first unseeded U.S. Open women’s finalist in Open history in 1997. She was defeated by Martina Hingis. She won Wimbledon and the US Open in 2000, opening the path for a $40 million contract with Reebok. In 2001, she went on to defend her championships.

Williams won a gold medal in the singles competition and a second in the doubles competition at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Both as partners and adversaries, the sisters have praised each other with pushing them in tennis. They have won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles together and have met more than 20 times, including the finals of eight Grand Slam tournaments.

Williams barely played in a few tournaments in 2006 due to a nagging wrist injury, but she returned to form in 2007, capturing the Wimbledon singles title. She replicated the trophy a year later, defeating Serena for her fifth Wimbledon title. A few months later, the Williams sisters won the doubles title in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome in 2011, an autoimmune condition that caused her to be easily exhausted and painful. She went vegan and changed her training routine to accommodate for more rest days, which paid off when she and Serena won their 13th Grand Slam doubles title at Wimbledon in 2012.

The sisters went on to win four Olympic gold medals after defeating Czech Republic tennis players Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka in the doubles final at the 2012 London Olympics. Williams won her first WTA singles victory in more than two years that fall.

In 2014, Williams proved she could still outplay opponents by reaching the finals of the Rogers Cup and the Coupe Banque Nationale. She won her 46th career singles championship at the ASB Classic in early 2015, defeating top-seeded Caroline Wozniacki.

That summer, the veteran great reached the fourth round of Wimbledon, her best showing since 2011, before losing to Serena on Centre Court. Williams then advanced to the quarterfinals of the US Open, where she was defeated by her sister in a dramatic three-set match.

The following year, at Wimbledon, Williams, 36, became the oldest woman’s Grand Slam semifinalist since Martina Navratilova in 1994, before losing to Angelique Kerber. She then joined up with Serena to win the doubles title, their sixth at Wimbledon together.

Rio Olympics 2016

Williams and Serena were knocked out of the first round of women’s doubles at the Rio Olympics by Czech combo Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in a shocking upset. The top-seeded sisters had a perfect 15-0 Olympic record as a duo going into the match.

Williams, who had also lost in the first round of singles, attempted to salvage her Olympic experience by entering the mixed-doubles competition late. Her pursuit for a fifth Olympic gold medal, however, fell short as she and partner Rajeev Ram were defeated in the final by Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Jack Sock.

Late Career

Williams began 2017 by reaching the Australian Open final, her first final-round appearance since Wimbledon in 2009, before falling to Serena in a hard-fought battle. She subsequently made another unexpected run to the Wimbledon final, where she was lost by Garbie Muguruza, and reached to the U.S. Open semifinals. She concluded the year ranked No. 5 in the world after falling just short of the prize at the WTA Finals.

Williams was unable to maintain her excellent form in 2018, as she was knocked out in the first round of both the Australian and French Opens. That July, she fell to Serena in the third round of the US Open, the sisters’ first meeting in a major tournament since the 1998 Australian Open.

Williams is still competing, despite her lower position. She was the oldest player in the 2019 Wimbledon field, at 39 years old, and she lost her lone match to the youngest, 15-year-old American Cori Gauff.

Entrepreneur and Philanthropist

Venus Williams has a wide range of hobbies outside of tennis. She’s taken art lessons and obtained an interior design certificate. She has launched her own clothing line, EleVen, as well as a collection of women’s clothing for Wilson’s Leather.

She has also established her own interior design firm, V*Starr Interiors, which works on residential projects across the country.

When Venus and Serena Williams joined the ownership group of the Miami Dolphins in 2009, they were the first African American women to do so. Venus co-wrote the New York Times bestseller Come To Win: Business Leaders, Artists, Doctors, and Other Visionaries on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession the following year, in which she interviewed successful people like Richard Branson and Condoleezza Rice about their early athletic experiences.

The tennis champion has also been involved in a number of social initiatives, including collaborating with UNESCO to promote gender equality throughout the world.

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