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Icon of the week: Serena Williams

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     To say that Serena Williams was born to play tennis, would be an understatement. Serena’s father wanted his children to become tennis players, before they were even born. Richard Williams told Newsweek “I went to my wife and said, ‘Let’s have kids and make them tennis players,” (Contemporary Black Biography). When Serena and her elder sister Venus showed promise on the court, their father trained them on the public tennis courts of Compton. By the age of four and a half Serena entered her first tournament.” Over the next five years, according to her father, she won forty-six of the forty-nine tournaments she entered and succeeded Venus as the number one player in Southern California’s competitive age-12-and-under rankings” (Notable Sports Figures). After going pro at the age of fourteen, Serena was quickly banned from the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) because of her young age. (Contemporary Black Biography)

     Serena debuted on October 1995, in the Bell Challenge in Vanier, a non WTA event held in Quebec, Canada. She lost her first match in less than an hour (Newsmakers). Things were not good for the youngest Williams in the next two years. While her sister was ranked in the top ten, Serena barely cracked 500. During 1997 in just one week her rank jumped from 453 to 100. In January 1998 Serena faced her sister and lost both sets (7-6, 6-1). Serena at age sixteen became the first of the sisters to win a Grand Slam tournament, in the mixed doubles tournament with her partner Max Mirnyi. By April 1999 she was in the top ten (Newsmakers).

     Serena’s career kept on growing. In that same year of 1999 the Williams sisters won the doubles title at the French open, she also won her first singles title and got her rank moved up to four. Additionally the sisters also won the doubles title at the US open. Serena kept on winning and winning, including in the Olympics, French Open, US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. During the French Open in 2002, Serena for the first time beat her sister and became number two in the world. The sisters met again in Wimbledon, where Serena again beat her sister, to take the title and the number one spot (Contemporary Black Biography).

     Serena Williams continues to be a dominant force on the tennis court. She has won five titles this year, the current 2015 Wimbledon champion, with her record being 50-2, and she has won thirty-six total Grand Slam titles (serenawilliams.com).  Serena is a great athlete to watch, and from the looks of it she will not be losing her top spot as number one anytime soon.

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