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Serena Williams: 2009 Australian Open Champion

Serena Williams was born September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan to Richard and Oracene (Price) Williams. The youngest of four sisters (Lyndrea, Isha, Yetunde, and Venus), and maybe the most athletic, Serena and her older sister Venus showed great promise early in their lives. Richard Williams, an extreme tennis fan, envisioned his two daughters as tennis stars before they were born. After moving the family to the violent streets of Compton, California Richard Williams introduced Serena and Venus Williams to Tennis, and by four and a half years old Serena was already entered in her first tournament. Richard used tennis as a way for his two daughters to escape the inner city life. Learning the game from pamphlets and video instruction the two sisters began battling on the tennis circuit, and over the next five years Richard recalled Serena winning 46 out of 49 tournaments. As time pressed on Serena began to show a powerful game succeeding her older sister Venus as the number one player in the age-12-and-under rankings,a small accomplishment by no means. Before reaching adolescence both sisters were being offered lucrative tennis deals, invitations to prestigious tennis camps, and positive newspaper reports all products of a glowing tennis game. In 1991 Richard began to make several unusual moves in regard to his daughter's tennis careers. First he pulled them out of the Junior Circuit where they had already achieved a great degree of popularity. Richard went on to say he did not want his daughters exposed to competitives pressures marked by racial undertones. Shortly after removing them from the Junior Circuits, Richard sent them to Ric Macci's Tennis Academy in Florida. Due to Richard's intelligent managing of the girl's sports endorsements the family was able to move to Rambling Estate, in Palm Beach, Florida. In 1993 the girls left school and continued their education at home.

The years 1997-1999 were the years when Serena Williams made herslef known to the tennis world, in 1997 Serena entered her first WTA tournament in Moscow, she was taken out in the first round by a highly ranked player at that time. Observed by tennis critics and press she was deemed a player with no talent and even less athletic ability, later that year Serena entered an Ameritech-sponsored tournament in Chicago where she blew through Mary Pierce in the second round, and battled around Monica Seles in a tough three set match in the quarter finals. Williams wouldn't win a singles title until 1999, but her wins over the two top ten players created great talk as her tough critics became her most passionate supporters. She finished '97 ranked 99 in the world. The following year Serena reached number twenty-one in the world, but her sisters jump to number 10 motivated her to greater feats, that year Serena beat players like Lindsey Davenport, but lost to her sister in a variety of events. In Nineteen-Ninety-Eight Serena won two doubles titles with her sister Venus, and two Grand Slam doubles titles (the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon) with mixed doubles partner Max Mirnyi. In 1999 Serena gained huge momentum defeating Amelie Mauresmo in the Paris Indoor Tournament finals in three sets to capture her first singles' title. A short time later Serena entered Indian Wells where she ran through top ten players Lindsey Davenport, Mary Pierce, and Steffi Graf to win the tounament. Serena had built a 16-match winning streak, but lost to her sister again, after beating Seles, Coetzer, and number one ranked Martina Hingis to reach the finals in Miami. Serena then entered the last Grand Slam title of the year The U.S. Open. Here she defeated opponents like fourth-ranked Seles and second-ranked Davenport, after defeating them, she had to face number one ranked Hingis in the finals. After the dust settled Serena Williams had won her first Grand Slam tournament in record-setting fashion. She became the lowest seeded player to ever win the title (#21) and only the second African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title. Near the end of 1999 Serena was forced to slow down, as she was plagued by medical problems such as Patella Tendonitus in her right knee, strained elbow,and severe influenza spread out among the rest of the year. Though 2000 also plagued Serena with much or less the same injuries, Serena emerged with the Wimbledon Doubles, and the Olympic Doubles Gold Medal in Sydney Australia, both with her sister Venus.

2001 didn't open up very well for Serena Willaims as she lost twice to Martina Hingis once in Sydney and again at The Australian Open. She did find success, however, in the doubles section winning that portion of The Australian Open. This granted themthe pleasure of becoming only the fifth women's doubles team in history to win all four doubles grand slams. Later that year Serena won the Masters Pacific Life Open Championship, but lost in the quarterfinals at both the French Open, and Wimbledon. During the U.S. Open Serena Lost to her sister Venus. Serena won the year-ending WTA Tour Championship and rounded the year off at number six in the world. In 2002 Serena was forced to withdraw from the Australian open because of injury, yet after the tournament she beat number one player Jennifer Capriati twice once in Scottsdale, and once again in Miami, she also beat Justine Henin in the finals in Rome. After Serena's game picked up great momentum defeating her sister Venus in The French Open, Wimbledon, and The U.S. Open. Adding three Grand Slams to her list for the sum total of four Grand Slams. Her Wimbledon win launched her to number one in the world, dethroning her sister, and becoming the second African American to hold that ranking. She and her sister also won the Wimbledon Doubles Title. Serena finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the World No. 1 ranking. Serena was off to a fast start in 2003 beating Venus in their fourth consecutive Grand Slam final to Capture her fifth Grand Slam and becoming only the six woman in the open era to gain a career slam joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Margaret Court, She also became the first women since Margaret Court to hold all four of the grand slam titles at one time. She also won her sixth doubles tournament with her sister. Serena two more masters titles before losing in the semifinals of the french open to eventual champion Justine Henin. Though Serena lost in the French Open she returned the loss by defeating Justine Henin in the Semifinals of the Wimbledon, before beating her sister, Venus, to capture her sixth Grand Slam Title. Wimbledon was Serena's last tournament of the season as a knee injury forced her to withdraw from the remaining tournaments. As a result, she lost her World No. 1 ranking to Clijsters in August, having held it for 57 weeks. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 3, despite having played only seven tournaments. Williams's older sister, Yetunde Price was murdered on the morning of September 14, 2003, by gang crossfire while driving through compton.

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Serena Getting Fired Up At The 2009 Australian Open

2004 was a let down year for Serena Williams winning only two singles titles and learning of her parents divorce battle. Serena withdrew from the Australian Open to rehabilitate her left knee. Serena beat Elena Dementieva in the Miami Masters, but shortly after lost to Jennifer Capriati in the French Open quarterfinals, making it her first lost before a Grand Slam semifinal since 2001 Wimbledon. Her left knee once again caused her to pull out of two masters championships and the Summer Olympics. Serena reached the Wimbledon finals but lost to seventeen year old Maria Sharapova, Serena also lost the U.S. Open quarterfinals to Jennifer Capriati. Williams finished the year at World No. 7, despite losing all four grand slam tournaments. 2005 Serena won the Australian Open She defeated three of the tournament's top four seeds (#2 Amelie Mauresmo, #4 Maria Sharapova, and #1 Lindsay Davenport) en route to the title. Williams saved three match points against Sharapova in the semifinals. The win moved her up to World No. 2, and Williams stated she was now targeting the number one spot in the foreseeable future. Serena's fortunes didn't prove well enough as she lost her next five tournaments. An ankle injury forced Williams to miss the French Open, she lost in the third round at Wimbledon, and fouth round at The U.S. Open to sister Venus. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11 and with just one singles title. Serena began 2006 losing to Daniela Hantuchova in the third round, provoking media reports that she had lost interest in the sport though she denied it. After Serena withdrew from four masters tournaments and watched her ranking fall out of the top 100 for the first time in nine years, she was forced to announce her absence from the French Open and Wimbledon due to a Chronic Knee Injury. Serena was granted a wildcard at The U.S. Open, but lost to Amelie Mauresmo in the fouth round, ending the year at 95 in the world, her worst since 1997 at 99. In 2007 Serena entered the Australian Open unseeded at 89 in the world yet beat Nadia Petrova, Lindsay Davenport, Shahar Pe'er, Nichole Vidasova, and finally Maria Sharapova to win her eigth Grand Slam title. Serena later stated that her motivation was her slain sister Yetunde, to whom she also dedicated her win. Serena won two singles titles before losing to No.1 Justine Henin in both the French Open quarterfinals, and Wimbledon quarterfinals. Serena then lost the U.S. Open quarterfinals to Justine Henin making it her third consecutive Grand Slam loss to the same woman. Williams finished off the year at No. 5 in the world with three singles titles. Serena opened 2008 Losing in the quarterfinals to Jelena Jankovic, but would later win four consecutive masters titles, and building a 17-match winning streak before it was snapped by Dinara Safina during the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin. She lost in the third round of the French Open, and Lost to sister Venus in the Finals of Wimbledon, but the sisters did capture the Wimbledon Doubles Title. Serena and her Sister also captured the Beijing Gold Medal in doubles, and Serena later went on to Capture the U.S. Open championship. By this time Serena had reached No. 1 in the world, but ended the year No. 2 due to withdrawl from remaining tournaments because of injury. Serena has started off 2009 in superb fashion winning The Australian Open Champioship for her Tenth Grand Slam Making her the fifth female, and only African American, in the open era to reach double digit Grand Slam championships. Joining Martina Navratilova, Magaret Court, Steffi Graf, Billie Jean King, and Monica Seles. Serena is currently the No.1 player in the world.
Venus and Serena Williams Wimbledon2008 England by LesMeister.
Venus and Serena Williams Wimbledon2008 England by LesMeister.

Serena and Venus During 2008 Wimbledon Doubles Final

Though Serena has made her name known on the tennis court Serena has sought other ventures taking up acting jobs in The Simpsons, My Wife And Kids, and also appeared on Late Night With Conan O Brien. In 2003 Serena signed a $40 million dollar endorsement deal with Nike, and won two ESPY Awards, including Best Female Tennis Player and Best Female Athlete. Serena also gained a degree at the Art Institute Of Florida, and Launched her clothing line Aneres. Serena and Venus serve as role models for the female and male African American community. Together they hold seventeen Grand Slam Titles and Twelve Doubles Titles including The 2004 and 2008 Doubles Gold Medals. Serena and Venus have also opened up a Tennis Camp in Florida for lower class and middle class families looking to give their children an early outlet through sports. Both sisters have spoken out aginst racial equality boycoting Indian Wells for suspected racial hostilities, and have been active in gender equality in Tennis. So active are the sisters in their fight for gender equality Wimbledon, considered to be the most prestigious of the four Grand Slams, set the male and female singles prize money equal as of last year. Serena and Venus have also been active in encouraging yound females,especially those of the African American community, to follow their dreams traveling acrossthe country visiting tennis tournaments, tennis camps, and various hospitals. Serena has also participated in Aurther Ashe Kid's Day at the U.S.Open, and continues to travel the country with her sister in order to inform every child that they can that dreams can start out small, but over time with hard work, can became a big reality.

Works Cited:

Gale Free Resources. Gale Cengage Learning. 16 Feb. 2009 <http://www.gale.cengage.com/free_resources/bhm/bio/williams_s.htm>.

CBS Sports: Tennis. 2009. CBS Sports. 19 Feb. 2009 <http://www.cbssports.com/tennis/players/playerpage/201739>.

Leicester, John. "Grand Slam For Serena Williams?." "N/A" NBC Sports. 12 Feb. 2009. NBC. 18 Feb. 2009 <http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/index.php>.