Serena Williams

In honor of Black History Month, every school day The Cardinal will feature a prominent and historical Black American, living or dead, who has worked toward change, advancement, and/or world peace. Some of them are heroes, and some are unsung heroes, who deserve recognition, and have made a contribution to society.


Chloe Ly, Senior Writer

Serena Williams was born on September 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan. From the young age of four, she began to play tennis after her family moved to Compton, California. She alongside her sister, Venus, was coached by their parents, Oracene Price and Richard Williams. Although her parents were her official coaches, Williams had other mentors who coached her like a man by the same name as her father, Richard Williams.

In October 1995, she had her first professional event at the Bell Challenge in Quebec, marking the start of her professional career. To overcome the age-eligibility rules and play, she used a wild-card entry to enter. However, Williams lost the first qualifying round and did not get to move on. After that event, she did not go on to play in any tournaments in 1996, but the next year, she began to participate in tournaments. Unfortunately, she lost during the qualifying rounds in a few of her initial tournaments. In November of 1997, she won her first main-draw match at the Ameritech Cup Chicago. Despite the fact that she would later lose in the semifinals, this marked a significant point in the beginning of her career. This match was her first career win against players ranked in the top 10 and became the lowest-ranked player in the Open Era to defeat two opponents in the top ten in a single tournament.

As an African-American woman, she marked history by earning an Olympic gold medal and becoming the first tennis player to achieve a career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles in the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. In addition, she was named one of the highest-paid female athletes in 2016 making approximately $29 million a year. Her significant achievements and determination have impacted not only the Black community but also women and girls around the world to strive for greater opportunities in tennis and beyond.

To close her career in professional tennis, Williams announced that she would be moving away from tennis to focus on more critical aspects of her life such as her family. She then played her final match at the 2022 US Open.