There may never be another player as legendary as Serena Williams. With 39 total major titles and 4 Olympic gold medals, she is the most accomplished athlete in the Open Era. And that’s just for singles. Let’s not forget that she forms a formidable duo alongside her sister Venus Williams. Together, they won 14 doubles slams and 3 of Serena’s 4 Olympic gold medals, the 4th being her singles win in London in 2012.
Tennis Career and Accomplishments
As famously depicted in the biopic King Richard, Venus and Serena were coached by their father at a young age. At the age of 14, Serena made her pro debut in Quebec in 1995. By 1999, she became a top 5 player in the world. That year, she made her mark by defeating many top players on her way to winning the US Open. She beat Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, and finally Martina Hingis, all of whom were former US Open champions themselves. Together with Venus, the William sisters also won the doubles title to cap off a monumental event. The next year, the Williams sisters teamed up for the 2000 London Olympics to win their first gold medal. At the 2003 Australian Open, Serena defeated Venus in the finals to simultaneously hold the titles of all 4 Grand Slam events.
Serena in the 2010s
In 2010, the Williams sisters would repeat this feat as doubles players when they won that year’s French Open. At the 2012 London Olympics, Serena’s career as a singles player hit its peak when she won the gold medal in singles. As if that wasn’t enough of an amazing feat by itself, she and Venus also took that year’s gold medal in doubles. There was no stop to her momentum, either. Although she had a rough 2014 season, she picked up steam once more towards the end of the year. She won both that year’s US Open and US Open Series for a 4 million dollar payout, the biggest payday in tennis history. By also winning the WTA Finals, she maintained a #1 ranking for the entire year.
Then in 2015, her winning streak at Grand Slams continued throughout the Australian Open, French Open, and finally Wimbledon. Serena has, once again, held all Grand Slam titles at once. Serena won her last singles Grand Slam title in 2017 at the Australian Open. There, she faced off none other than Venus Williams yet again. To everyone’s surprise, it was later revealed that she was pregnant with her first child, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, at the time. With a total of 23 singles Grand Slam victories, Serena holds the record for the most accomplished singles player in the Open Era. As of 2022, her total prize money earnings are $94,618,080, the highest of any female athlete in any sport ever.
Evolving Beyond Tennis
Even before announcing her retirement, Serena Williams’ ambitions extended beyond the tennis world. Like how Venus has Eleven by Venus, Serena has her own clothing brand S by Serena. Complementing her clothing brand is her namesake jewelry brand, Serena Williams Signature Statement. In addition to her fashion brands, she also launched the investment capital firm Serena Ventures eight years ago. Serena Ventures champions diversity by investing in diverse and creative projects. Aside from her business pursuits, Serena is active in her philanthropy. In addition to visiting schools and communities of at-risk youth, she also opened 2 separate Serena Williams Secondary Schools in Kenya.
She has also been a voice actor where she voiced herself on The Simpsons, Ming on Avatar The Last Airbender, and the female sage in Legend of Korra. Serena has acted well before ATLA, making her appearances in Hair Show, I Am Bolt, and Ocean’s 8. The tennis star decided to ask her agent to reach out to ATLA to be a voice actor for the show because she was a fan.
In Vogue, she mentioned that she didn’t like the word retirement as much and prefers to call it an “evolution.” Instead of retiring she is evolving towards other things that are also important to her. Some of these things are her family and her company Serena Ventures.
With so many avenues Serena can take, she has said that she plans on focusing more of her attention on Serena Ventures after retiring. The firm has raised $111 million in 2022 aside from financing new investments. Her company’s investments range from health and wellness to fintech for the underbanked, however, the focus for Serena Ventures is on health, wellness, and athletics. The company also has a lot of investments made in women-led and minority businesses because that is who they are as a company. However, they aim to be inclusive to everyone and work with a diverse team.
Also, one of her biggest reasons for leaving the court is so she can expand her family. Her first child Alexis Olympia was born in 2017 and since then Serena has said that she doesn’t want to have to choose between family and tennis. But she explains that “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be writing this because I’d be out there playing and winning while my wife was doing the physical labor of expanding our family.” She hates the idea that she has to be at this crossroads, but she’s ready for what’s next.
“My goodness do I enjoy tennis, But now, the countdown has begun. I have to focus on being a mom, my spiritual goals, and finally discovering a different, but just exciting Serena. I’m gonna relish these next few weeks,” she wrote Vogue.
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