Serena Williams not only dominated the women’s game but she has continued to be on the forefront of the international sporting landscape as a mother, icon, and leader.
World No 1 for 319 weeks and winner of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Williams announced her retirement from professional tennis after a third-round defeat to Ajla Tomljanovic at the US Open – more than 25 years after making her Tour debut.
We are privileged to have observed Serena rule the roost in a golden era of tennis. Age has never been an obstacle for the irrepressible Williams, who collected 12 of her 23 major titles after 2010, last winning a major title at the Australian Open in 2017, while being eight weeks pregnant.
Williams has also been runner-up in 10 major finals but she’s been stuck on 23 Grand Slams since 2017. She tried and tried to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record – but without success yet. Injury and illness played a part in Williams’ incredible story, although she continued to defy logic by battling back time and time again. Since 1998, she has topped the rankings 10 times, dropping outside of it just three times during that period.
Williams has also completed the career ‘Golden Slam’ by holding all four majors as well as Olympics singles gold. Andre Agassi, Steffi Graf and Rafael Nadal are the only other players to have achieved such a feat. The irresistible Williams also secured the ‘Serena Slam’ (winning all four Grand Slams in a row) – not once, but twice! In 2003 and 2015. Her clashes with older sister Venus are the stuff of legend while her dominance over Maria Sharapova is arguably the most storied rivalry in women’s tennis.
Away from the tennis court, Williams went through extensive complications after giving birth to her daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr in September 2017 and was bedridden for six weeks.
“I almost died after giving birth to my daughter, Olympia,” Williams revealed in an interview with Vogue. Just two months later Williams and her partner Alexis Ohanian tied the knot. “Alexis doesn’t dim my light. He doesn’t try to dim my light,” she explained to Allure. “He puts me in the light, even if I don’t want to be. He pushes me to further points I never thought about.” Serena has continued to prove her stunning resilience, fighting spirit, and winning mentality at the highest level.