Here, we have a profile for Serena Williams that details information about her playing career, as well as her sponsors, brand endorsements, business investments, earnings, net worth, rivalries, significant records, notable honours and charity work.
Full name: Serena Jameka Williams
Date of birth: 26 September 1981
Coach: Patrick Mouratoglou
Current ranking: 248 (April 25, 2022)
Highest ranking: 1 (July 8, 2002)
Career earnings: US$94,518,971
WTA Titles: 73
Grand Slams: 23
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 over two decades, but the ride hasn’t been easy. In 2006, having suffered from depression and injuries, 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.
Williams is well known for her damaging serves and holds a record for most aces in a tournament: 102 during her title-winning run at Wimbledon 2012. A strong muscular physique with proper technique gives Williams an edge over her opponents. With an average serve speed of 175 km/h, Serena has won 82% of the games that she has served.
After winning her first six Grand Slam titles with Puma, Serena Williams was offered a five-year endorsement deal from Nike in 2004 worth about US$40 million. The contract also included a three-year extension period, while it was reported that the initial US$40 million sum could rise to as much as US$55 million due to certain performance-based incentives. Since then, Nike has been the sportswear partner for Serena and the pair have committed to numerous deals for undisclosed amounts.
Unlike some of the other brands to feature on this list, Serena has been associated with the Chicago-headquartered brand throughout her career. In 2017, Wilson launched Wilson Blade SW104, a signature golden racquet designed especially for Serena Williams.
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 Gatorade Goat Camp in 2020. She has also designed a limited-edition bottle as part of Gatorade’s Gx customisable hydration line.
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 Wimbledon 2015.
Serena was seen alongside Jim Parsons in a TVC for the American tech corporation in 2017. She became the fourth athlete to appear in the company’s humorous ads, joining Olympian Micheal Phelps, legendary quarter-back Tom Brady and basketball superstar LeBron James. She has also hinted in previous interviews that her commitment with the tech-firm could go beyond commercials.
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.
“I’ve always had a connection physically and emotionally to the brand,” said Williams in one of her interviews. “When the opportunity came to work with the Lincoln Navigator today, I was really excited because it brought me back to all of those moments I had in my first vehicle. For me, partnering with a brand like Navigator comes from a genuine place.”
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.
JPMorgan Chase & Co
Serena has been a partner of the New York-based financial company since 2015 for whom she also serves as a spokesperson. She is the face of the banking group’s “Masters” campaign, which promotes its digital platforms by stating that it makes life easier so customers can have more time to pursue their passion.
Beats by Dre
The California-based audio equipment manufacturer has been working with the 23-time Grand Slam winner since 2013. Moreover, Williams’ inclusion in Beats’ campaign is significant in that she is the only female athlete to feature in these ads. The previous athletes include the likes of LeBron James and Draymond Green, as well as footballers like retired Germany international Bastian Schweinsteiger and Brazilian star Neymar Jr.
Serena signed a multi-year deal with the trading card company in May 2018. She became an official spokesperson of the brand, joining sporting icons like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Wayne Gretzky. Williams’ new collection of Upper Deck signed memorabilia includes exclusive limited-edition images, jumbo tennis balls and Nike tennis shoes as well as extremely limited-editions of Nike tennis dresses and Wilson racquets.
In 2015, Pepsi brought back its wildly successful Pepsi Challenge ad campaign. The company enlisted Serena Williams and Usain Bolt as the face of the new campaign, reviving the Pepsi Challenge which debuted about 46 years ago. The new ad campaign aimed to expand its global presence particularly in emerging markets, where every month Pepsi “ambassadors” would use social media to issue a new challenge.
In addition to Williams and Bolt, then-Real Madrid midfielder James Rodríguez also presented monthly challenges, presumably of the athletic variety.
Delta Air Lines
In 2016, the then-World No.1 was seen in a commercial for the Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines which she posted on her Instagram account. Sitting in a plane, Serena went into another world where she was seen doing various forms of dancing, including her famous “Twerk”. We’ve all known for years that Serena loves to dance, but it was refreshing to see her do so well for someone who wasn’t from the dancing field.
With IBM as one of the official partners of the Australian Open, in 2016, the technology and consulting corporation recruited Serena Williams for a spot promoting IBM Watson, a technology platform that, according to IBM, could spot diseases before patients displayed symptoms, predict trends before they went viral and answer questions before they could be asked, making it one smart piece of technology.
Food tech firm Eat Just launched a JUST Egg advertisement featuring tennis superstar Serena Williams in May 2022. The ad features Serena alongside Hollywood actor Jake Gyllenhaal, both of whom are also investors in the brand. The advertisement, while taking a dig at celebrities for lifestyle, tries to showcase that, whether you are a celebrity or not, everyone can enjoy the nutritional benefits and taste of JUST Egg.
The German company was one of Serena’s first sponsors. Their partnership began in 1998 when Serena signed a US$12m endorsement deal with the brand. But after five years with the brand, during which she also won six Grand Slams, in 2003, she signed a long-term contract with Nike that paid her around US$40 million on her initial five-year deal.
In June 2015, Serena signed a contract with the British luxury automobile brand as its Chief Sporting Officer and was spotted at one of the F1 events in 2017 with the Aston Martin F1 team. However, following the birth of her child and nearing a return to court action, the then-36-year-old broke her ties with the British automobile company to join hands with Lincoln Motors, a Ford-owned luxury carmaker.
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. In 2016, when the Aussie lingerie-meets-sportswear company made its stateside debut at Macy’s in New York City, Serena was on hand to celebrate the occasion.
Speaking on her long association with the brand, she said: “As my tennis regime includes tons of high performance exercises, I’m always running, bouncing and jumping, and I need to be confident there is both comfort and support – especially on court.” The 23-time Grand Slam winner credited her mother for introducing her to Berlei bras more than 15 years ago.
In 2017, Tempur-Pedic announced that it was teaming up with Serena Williams to promote its “Tempur-Pedic Sleep is Power” campaign. Serena is a proud consumer of the Lexington, Kentucky-based pillow and mattress brand for over a decade and has partnered with the brand for several ad campaigns.
“I require consistent, restful sleep in order to be at my best, and for the past 10 years, my Tempur-Pedic bed and pillows have delivered that,” Williams said. “This is the only mattress that adapts to my body, relieving pressure points so I sleep deeply and wake up ready to perform on court and conquer whatever the day might hold.”
In 2015, AccorHotels became an Official Partner of the Australian Open for three years. Ahead of the 2016 edition of the AO, Accor signed Serena as one of its Official Ambassadors for the tournament. She went on to serve that role for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Australian Opens as well. AccorHotels also offered members of its Le Club AccorHotels loyalty programme an exclusive opportunity to meet Williams at the So Sofitel Singapore and Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, where she posed for photos with fans.
Serena Williams’ Business ventures and investments
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.
Williams founded a venture capitalist firm in 2014. The venture firm has invested in over 30 companies with a market capitalisation of US$12 billion.
Below are some brands that have received investments through Serena Ventures:
Flockjay is an online training platform for tech sales based in California. It has received a funding of US$3m from Serena Williams, Will Smith and few others.
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.
Serena Williams joined hands with basketball player Carmelo Anthony in August 2019 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.
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.
Serena first partnered with the social networking app in January 2019. She has been actively endorsing the brand since its 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.
Serena Williams’ Significant records
- 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 the Australian Open seven times — an Open era record.
- She holds the record for winning US Open titles in three different decades.
Serena Williams’ Notable charity work
- 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, Williams donated her entire winnings of around US$43,000 to the Australian Bushfire Relief Fund.
- Serena has helped donate over 4.25 million masks to underserved schools over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Serena Williams’ Rivalry
Serena’s intimidating style of play has dominated anyone who has 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 Serena’s fiercest opponents is her sister Venus, who has crossed paths with Serena 31 times on the professional stage, winning only 12 matches.
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 Sharapova defeating the then-two-time defending champion in the 2004 Wimbledon final and later 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.