Serena Williams rose from a humble neighborhood in the United States to become a tennis superstar, emerging as the greatest female tennis player in contemporary history.

Serena Williams rose from a humble neighborhood in the United States to become a tennis superstar, emerging as the greatest female tennis player in contemporary history.

Serena Williams – a symbol of pride for African Americans

Serena has become an icon for African Americans in a sport dominated by white athletes. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles and achieved numerous significant milestones through unwavering determination, akin to the magical energy she radiates with each powerful stroke.

Serena and her sister Venus (a 7-time Grand Slam champion) are the co-producers and executive directors of the film "King Richard." The film, like a fairytale, tells the story of how they were taught tennis by their father, Richard Williams, on the tough streets of Compton, California.

"I'm just that girl with a racket and a dream. And I only play for that," Serena shared after winning the 2013 US Open title.

Serena – the tennis player dubbed "legend" – has won 7 Australian Open titles, 3 French Open titles, 7 Wimbledon championships, and 6 US Open titles, just one title shy of Margaret Court's all-time record.

At the 1999 US Open, Serena won her first Grand Slam at the age of 17. By 2017, she had won her 23rd major title at the Australian Open while pregnant with her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian.

Following Olympia's birth in September 2017, Serena was bedridden for six weeks due to a pulmonary embolism. However, just five months later, she returned to compete in doubles matches alongside her sister Venus at the Fed Cup.

Among her 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena Williams has twice completed the "Serena Slam" – winning all four major titles consecutively. The first time was in the 2002-2003 season, starting at the French Open in 2002, and again in 2014-2015, beginning at the 2014 US Open.

Despite her tremendous success, Serena remains remarkably modest: "I never focus on numbers. When I started playing tennis, I didn't think about becoming the greatest because I only had a racket and a dream. Now people say I could become (the greatest), but for me, I haven't achieved that yet.

Talented athletes like Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf, to me, are the ultimate icons in the history of women's tennis worldwide."

The ups and downs of a legend

Serena has a powerful playing style on the court, but sometimes, the design of her playing attire overshadows her inner strength. Her most recent title among her 73 WTA titles came in January 2020 at the Auckland Open. This was also the only championship Serena won as a mother.

Serena had the opportunity to equal Margaret Court's all-time record, but on all four occasions, she lost in the finals of Wimbledon 2018 and the US Open 2019 (losing to Naomi Osaka).

During the period when her half-sister, Yetunde Price, was shot and killed by gang members in 2003 at the age of 31, Serena had to struggle hard to overcome this pain.

At the peak of her career, Serena had to take nearly a year off from competition (after winning Wimbledon 2010). Following an accident, she underwent two surgeries and was bedridden for 20 weeks. She then discovered a blood clot causing pulmonary embolism, threatening her life in 2011.

"The doctor told me I had blood clots in both lungs. Many people have died from that. It made me unable to breathe. At first, I thought I lost my form. But the disease got worse. Being at the peak and having to accept that happened, was really difficult. But it made me realize the value of everything," Serena revealed.

Serena asserts that her success stems from her father Richard Williams: "I wouldn't win any titles if it weren't for my father and his support. He's a great, creative coach. Dad nurtured and built us. He gave us a solid foundation. So we could develop our careers."

Despite other children mocking his daughter during training, Serena's father, Richard Williams, remained steadfast: "To succeed, you have to prepare for surprises – and I've prepared for that. Criticism may bring out the best in you."

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