Professional tennis player Serena Williams is turning the big 3-0. As one of the world’s top ranking players, we’ve seen Williams go from an eager teenager to a solidified champion. Here are five things you may not know about the birthday girl!
Today marks a major milestone in Serena Williams‘ life. She’s turning 30 years old and we’re taking a look at five accomplishments and personal triumphs that have made her a champion on and off the court.
She’s a midwest girl
Despite Williams’ Compton upbringing, she wasn’t born in the state of California. Her father Richard moved her and her family to the southwest when she was still a child. Williams was actually born in Saginaw, Michigan.
She started from the bottom
Serena Williams made her professional debut in 1995 at the age of 14. In her first match, she played Annie Miller and lost in the first round. She earned a mere $240 in prize money.
She made history
In 1999, after winning the U.S. Open, Williams became the first African-American woman to win the Grand Slam professional tennis tournament since 1958 when Althea Gibson earned the title.
She lost a loved one
Aside from Venus, Serena has three half-sisters, whose names are Yetunde, Lyndrea and Isha. Yetunde served as the personal assistant for both Venus and Serena, but unfortunately passed away in 2003. Yetunde was accidentally struck in the head by a bullet which was intended for her boyfriend. She was 31 years old.
Tennis is a family affair
Serena and Venus Williams have played side by side and against each other multiple times over the course of their careers. In 1999, they were the first sisters to go head to head in a match since 1884 when they participated in the Lipton Championships. In the event, Serena’s older sibling prevailed and she took it as a learning experience.
Overall, Serena Williams’ career is a modern marvel. As someone who was once eclipsed by her sister, she currently has an astounding 13 Grand Slam titles to her name and is still raking in awards. Williams is one of the top tennis players in the world and could go down in history as the best to ever play the game.
Image courtesy of WENN