Full Name: Serena Jameka Williams
Date of Birth: 26th September 1981
Role: Right-handed, Two-handed backhand
Coach: Patrick Mouratoglou
Current Ranking: No. 8
Highest Ranking: No. 1 (July 8, 2002)
Career Earnings: US$94,253,246
WTA Titles: 73
Grand Slams: 23
Also Read – SERENA WILLIAMS – THE JOURNEY SO FAR
Making her professional debut in 1995 at a tender age of 14, Serena Williams marked her arrival at the big stage by winning her first Tier 1 title after defeating Steffi Graf in the Evert Cup final in 1999. In the same year, she also won her first Grand slam title and became the second African American woman to win a Grand Slam title.
Known for her aggressive style of play, Serena went on to win four consecutive Grand Slam titles in 2002-03 – a feat she managed to replicate in 2014-15. With 23 Grand slam titles under her belt, Serena Williams has dominated the sport for two decades, but the ride hasn’t been easy. Having suffered from depression and injuries in 2006, her WTA rankings dipped to an all-time low of 139. She returned from that by clinching the 2007 Australian Open title against all odds.
Speaking of partnerships and rivalries, her elder sister, Venus, has been one of her toughest opponents as well as her best partner. Together, the duo has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles and 3 Olympic gold medals.
Best Finishes at Each Grand Slam
Australian Open: 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015, 2017
French Open: 2002, 2013, 2015
Wimbledon: 2002, 2003, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2016
US Open: 1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014
STYLE OF PLAY
Serena Williams is a baseline player who loves to dictate the play from the back of the court. Her style can be summarised in one word – “strength”. Her forehand is considered to be the most powerful shot in women’s tennis.
She’s well known for her damaging serves and holds a record for most aces in a tournament – 102 during her title-winning run in the 2012 Wimbledon. A strong muscular physique with proper technique gives Williams an edge over her opponents. With an average serve speed at 175 km/h, Serena has won 82% of the games that she has served.
Also Read – Richest Female Tennis Players, 2020
NIKE: Serena Williams was offered a five-year endorsement deal from Nike in 2004 worth about US$40 million. Ever since then, Nike has been the sportswear partner for Serena.
WILSON: Serena has been associated with the Chicago-headquartered brand throughout her career. In 2017, Wilson launched Wilson Blade SW104, a signature racquet designed for Serena Williams.
GATORADE: Serena is a consumer and a “lifetime partner” of the Chicago-headquartered American sports-themed beverage and food products brand. She has featured in multiple ad campaigns, including the latest Gatorade Goat Camp in 2020. She has also designed a limited-edition bottle as part of Gatorade’s Gx customisable hydration line.
AUDEMARS PIGUET: Serena became the brand ambassador of the Swiss luxury watch manufacturer and was seen sporting the watch as she won her 21st Grand Slam title at the 2015 Wimbledon tournament.
LINCOLN MOTORS: The luxury car division of the Ford Motor company announced the 23-time Grand Slam winner as its brand ambassador for the Lincoln Navigator Model in 2018.
BERLIE: Serena’s association with the lingerie brand dates back to the 2006 Australian Open. She has been one of its brand ambassadors since late 2013 and has been a part of multiple ad campaigns.
INTEL: Serena was seen alongside Jim Parsons in a TVC for the American tech corporation in 2017.
WHEATIES: In 2019, Serena Williams’ dream of getting her face on the orange cereal box and joining a list of elite athletes came true when General Mills announced that the tennis star would get her own Wheaties box. She is the tenth tennis player to ever be displayed on the brand’s packaging.
JP MORGAN CHASE: Serena has been a partner of the New York-based financial company since 2015 for whom she also serves as a spokesperson.
BEATS BY DRE: The California-based audio equipment manufacturer has been working with the 23-time Grand Slam winner since 2013.
TEMPUR-PEDIC: Serena Williams is a proud consumer of the Lexington, Kentucky-based pillow and mattress brand for over a decade and has partnered with the brand for ad campaigns like “Tempur-Pedic Sleep is Power.”
ACCOR HOTELS: In 2015, Accor Hotels became an Official Partner of Australian Open for three years. Ahead of its 2016 iteration, Accor signed Serena as one of its Official Ambassador for Australian Open. She went on to serve that role for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Australian Opens.
UPPER DECK: Serena Williams signed a multi-year deal with the trading card company in May 2018. She became the official spokesperson of the brand joining sporting icons like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky.
PUMA: The German company was one of Serena’s first sponsors. Their partnership began in 1998 when Serena signed a US$12 million endorsement deal with the brand.
ASTON MARTIN: In June 2015, Serena signed a contract with the British luxury automobile brand as its Chief Sporting Officer.
BUSINESS VENTURES AND INVESTMENTS
BITSKI: Serena Williams, alongside Jay-Z, has invested US$19m in an NFT (Non-Fungible token) start-up called Bitski. Bitski is an NFT marketplace with a purpose of simplifying the process of creating, buying and selling NFTs.
SERENA VENTURES: Serena Williams founded a venture capitalist firm in 2014. The venture firm has invested in over 30 companies with a market capitalization of US$12 billion.
Below are some brands that have received investments through Serena Ventures
FLOCKJAY: Flockjay is an online training platform for tech sales based in California. It received a funding of US$3m from Serena Williams, Will Smith and few others.
IMPOSSIBLE FOODS: This is a plant-based meat alternative start-up that raised US$300m in investments in 2019. Serena Williams, Katy Perry, Jay-Z and Jaden Smith were few celebrities who participated in the investment round.
MYRO: Serena Williams joined hands with basketball player Carmelo Anthony and invested in this refillable, plant-based deodorant brand. The investment was a part of the US$7m the company raised during its funding round.
PACHAMA: This is a company that aims to reduce carbon footprint and tackle climate change. It received a joint investment of US$5m from Breakthrough Energy, Serena Ventures, Aglaé Ventures, Air Angels, Sweet Capital and ThirdKind Ventures in 2020.
BUMBLE: Serena first partnered with the social networking app in January 2019. She has been actively endorsing the brand since their first campaign named “The ball is in her court” during SuperBowl 53 in 2019, which was focused on promoting Bumble’s non-romantic features – Bumble BFF and Bumble Bizz.
- She has a winning percentage of 82.86% at year-end championships.
- She shares a record with Steffi Graf for 186 consecutive weeks as World No.1.
- She has won 106 match wins at the US Open.
- She has won 92 matches at the Australian Open.
- She’s the oldest women’s single winner (Australian Open 2017) at 35 years and 4 months.
- She has Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.
- She has won Australian Open 7 times – an Open era record.
- She holds the record for winning US Open titles in three different decades.
- In 2008, the Serena Williams Foundation helped build the Serena Williams Secondary School in Matooni, Kenya.
- In response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake, Serena Williams, alongside other tennis stars, decided to organise a charity event for the victims of the disaster.
- Serena started an annual charity run called “The Serena Williams Ultimate Fun Run” in 2014. All proceeds from the event go to the Serena Williams Fund – a foundation aimed to help victims of violence and to provide education to youth.
- After winning the ASB Classic in 2020, Serena Williams donated her entire winnings of US$43,000 to the Australian Bushfire Relief Fund.
- She has helped donate 4.25 million masks to underserved schools during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serena’s intimidating style of play has dominated anyone who’s played against her. A select few players have come close to winning more head-to-head duels than her but haven’t quite managed to. One of her fiercest opponents is her sister Venus Williams who has crossed paths with Serena 31 times on a professional stage, winning only 12 matches.
While the four-time Olympic gold medalist has cruised past all her rivals, including big names like Martina Hingis and Justine Henin.
One of the most talked-about rivalries in modern tennis has been between her and Maria Sharapova. It began with Maria Sharapova defeating the then two-time defending champion Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final and clinching the WTA championship title against Serena in the same year. Despite a disappointing start to their rivalry, Serena has gone on to win 20 of their 23 total meetings.