By anyone’s standards, Serena Williams is one of tennis’s all-time greats, having broken records and shattered glass ceilings since entering the professional circuit 27 years ago.
In a recent interview with Vogue magazine, the 40-year-old tennis legend announced that the upcoming US Open will be her last grand slam as she has decided to retire from the sport this year.
Here’s a look at how she got started and excelled in this illustrious career that began in 1995.
1. An early love of the game
For as long as she can remember, tennis has been Serena’s life. While her father and first coach, Richard Williams, said she first picked up a tennis racket when she was three years old, she says her love of the sport came even earlier. There’s even a photo of her being pushed on a tennis court in her pram by Venus when Serena was just 18 months old.
2. She was homeschooled
In order to provide them with a solid education while allowing them time for tennis practice, Venus and Serena were home-schooled by their father.
3. She is a college graduate
Despite a demanding tennis career, Serena still found time to study another of her passions: fashion. She attended fashion school at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale from 2000 to 2003. A good business decision, considering she launched her own clothing line, Serenain 2018.
4. Serena goes pro
Just a year after her sister Venus turned pro, Serena entered the ring – just a month after she turned 14. It would be three years later that she would win her first Grand Slam title, beating Martina Hingis at the US Open.
5. Rack up the wins
It was the start of an incredible tennis career, with Serena winning 23 Grand Slam singles – the most in the open era. Playing alongside Venus, she won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles – the second most in history – and two mixed doubles. In 2014/15, she held all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously. She also holds four Olympic gold medals, including three in doubles.
6. She follows a strict diet
Although she relaxes her diet during the off-season, allowing for protein and a few cheat day favorites, Serena follows a mostly vegan diet when she trains and competes.
7. Family is important
We know the important roles that Venus and Serena’s father played in their lives, indicating how important family is. And they have lots of family! In addition to Venus, Serena has three half-sisters, all of whom support the tennis star. She is married to American internet entrepreneur Alexis Ohanian, with whom she has a four-year-old daughter, Olympia. In fact, it’s Olympia’s wish for a brother that is part of the reason why Serena is retiring.
8. She can do anything
In addition to conquering the worlds of fashion and tennis, Serena also surpasses herself in motherhood. She won the Australian Open in 2017 – when she was two months pregnant! She had a C-section, two pulmonary embolisms and still won a grand slam. Throughout breastfeeding and postpartum depression, she competed and excelled, showing that there really is no excuse.
9. Collecting money
His hard work paid off – in large part! Serena’s net worth is estimated at $250 million, making her the richest female athlete and the third richest tennis player after Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. She is also the only player to have won over $35 million in prize money.
Don’t miss Serena’s last chance to win a Grand Slam title when she takes to the courts at the US Open from Monday August 29th to Sunday September 11th.
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