21 Impressive Facts About Serena Williams
Since she burst onto the tennis scene winning her first US Open at age 17, Serena Williams has been an athletic force of nature.
She and her sister, Venus, have continued to dominate and reshape the sport for basically two decades. And in between her incredible championship wins and continuous athletic growth, she’s carved out a life that’s just as fascinating off the court.
In 2017, she earned a spot as the only female on Forbes’ Highest Paid Athletes list. Now, at 36-years-old with a net worth of $27 million, her list of personal and professional accomplishments continues to grow at a profound rate and shows no signs of slowing down.
Studying her fascinating life up to this point is a lesson in discipline, resilience, and sheer creativity.
She Started Young
Serena began playing tennis at only 3 years old. Her older sister, Venus, also began training early under the coaching of their father, Richard Williams.
The family would eventually move from Compton, Calif., to West Palm Beach, Fla., in order for both Williams sisters to train with Rick Macci.
Though they did learn a lot at Macci’s training academy, some tension between the coach and their father — especially concerning keeping balance in his daughter’s lives — meant that their dad would eventually take over their full-time coaching again when Serena was 10.
Her Sister Went Pro Before Her
Venus Williams began on the professional tennis circuit in 1994, causing quite a stir early on with her powerful serve and unprecedented athletic style.
Though her parents asked Serena to wait until she was 16-years-old, the younger sister attempted to begin her professional career in 1995 when she was only 14 as well. But, she was denied her first entry into the tournament because of age eligibility restrictions.
She would eventually enter a tournament later in the year using a “wild card entry” to avoid that issue, but lost in the first round to Annie Miller, who would go on to have a short but impressive career.
They’re Really Supportive of Each Other
When they face off against each other on the tennis court, these sisters are one of the most exciting modern sport rivalries to watch.
Though Serena holds the overall record for more wins over her sister and more singles tournament wins overall, Venus is one of the only players to beat Serena multiple times.
But when they’re not playing head-to-head, they team up as a powerhouse doubles team, winning 14 Grand Slam titles together and multiple Olympic gold medals. Plus, they’re notoriously supportive of each other’s accomplishments.
She Won The Australian Open While Pregnant
When Serena surprised the world with her pregnancy, some fans did the math at how far along she was and realized that she had actually won The Australian Open while pregnant.
Winning the Major alone is already impressive, but doing so while pregnant, well, that’s just next level.
Her List of Accomplishments Is Insane
With 23 Grand Slam Single wins, she’s earned that champion title more than any other tennis player in history.
She also has the record for the most women’s singles matches won at major tournaments.
She’s Also a Proud Dog Mom
Serena is a pretty big animal lover, with her sweet dog being the lucky recipient of much of that love.
Obviously when Alexis came along, the dog took a bit of a back seat.
But she’s made it pretty clear that her fur baby continues to get plenty of love.
She’s Got an Impressive Gold Medal Collection
All in all, she has four gold medals from the Olympics from both the singles and doubles competitions.
Her sister, Venus, has one extra medal on her – a silver. But since both athletes continue to impress on the court, that number could very well increase in the future.
The Serena Slam Is a Tennis Term Inspired by Her
The “Serena Slam” is a tennis term used when a tennis player wins all four of the big tournaments in a row, holding the official champion title to all the “Majors” (Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open).
The title first came about after 2015, when Serena dominated the tournaments in a row after winning the U.S. Open.
Though she wasn’t the first female tennis player to accomplish the feat, she was the one popular enough to have the world coin it for her.
She Serves Over 120 MPH
She’s known for her powerful serves and extreme athleticism.
In fact, a serve she issued at the 2013 Australian Open is one of the fastest recorded in recent tennis history clocking in at 128.3 mph.
She’s Tough On and Off the Court
Even though the world is becoming more aware of underlying sexist beliefs that many people hold, they still very much exist. And even the powerhouse athlete Serena Williams faces them.
A low-ranked male tennis player said that he didn’t believe Serena would be even in the top 700 ranked tennis players in the world if she were playing in the male league.
Serena, pregnant at the time, simply let the comment roll off her and asked for basic respect since she was pregnant at the time.
She Earns a Ton From Sponsors
She’s one of the highest paid female athletes in the world, earning more than $84 million in prize money and endorsements total, and $27 million between June 2016 and June 2017 alone, according to Forbes.
Though some of that money comes from winning a good number of tournaments, the majority of it comes from partnerships, sponsorships, and her own entrepreneurial endeavors.
Plus She’s Got Her Own Clothing Line
After starting small with a clothing line that was first available on HSN, Serena has branched out with the (appropriately named) clothing line, Serena.
It offers casual wear, everyday clothes, and (of course) some athletic gear.
She’s Been Called the GOAT by Another Possible Tennis GOAT
On the other side of the spectrum, another male tennis player said she may well be one of the best tennis players of all time.
Roger Federer, a decorated athlete who also has plenty of titles to his name, commented that watching Serena play is absolutely fascinating since she may bell be the greatest player of all time.
Serena was flattered and returned the compliment.
She’s Also a Social Media Champion
With 9 million Instagram followers, it’s pretty safe to say Serena Williams understands how to make a splash on social media. She has successful Instagram accounts for her daughter and her dog, as well. On top of that, she has millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook.
She even announced her pregnancy on Snapchat, claiming that she posted a picture showing her baby bump and how far along she was accidentally — even though the surprising post caused a total frenzy.
Whether or not it was actually intentional or accidental, her pregnancy announcement was as unconventional (and successful) as the rest of her professional and personal life.
She’s Married to a Social Media Mogul
Maybe part of the reason she’s so excellent at social media is because she’s married to the guy who co-founded Reddit “the front page of the internet.”
Alexis Ohanian is an investor and tech entrepreneur who lucked out by snagging this powerhouse athlete’s heart.
The pair are often seen on the red carpet gushing over each other. And he is extraordinarily proud of what an inspiration Serena is to the world.
She Owns Stake in the Miami Dolphins
Both Serena and her sister Venus own partial stake in the Miami Dolphins, the team they enjoyed watching while they were growing up.
Their ownership is historical since they’re the first African American women to own a part of a professional NFL franchise.
She’s Also a Movie Star
To no one’s surprise, Serena’s popularity extends far beyond the tennis court.
She has an HBO documentary available for streaming called Being Serena and has made cameos in a couple comedies including "Pixels" and "7 Days in Hell."
She’s Got Royal Friends
Long before she was a duchess, Meghan Markle was a supportive friend to Serena Williams.
After meeting in 2010 at the Superbowl, the pair were fast friends and have been continually supportive of each other’s endeavors — whether they be professional or humanitarian.
Unsurprisingly, Serena was invited to the latest royal wedding.
And She’s Friends With American Royalty
Even back home in the USA, Serena is good friends with Beyoncé (aka Queen Bey).
She was even featured in the pop superstar’s groundbreaking visual album, "Lemonade," in the video for the song “Sorry.”
And, She’ll Teach You Tennis
When she’s not pretty much being a champion on an off the court, Serena actually took the time to create a Masterclass to teach the basics of tennis to anyone who wants to learn from her.
While some of the class focuses on the physical fundamentals of the game and improving your serve, a good portion of it focuses on how to improve your mental focus to help live up to your potential.