Happy Birthday Serena Williams

Serena Williams' 42nd birthday

Serena Williams, who is celebrating her 42nd birthday today, is one of the greatest athletes in history. She has won 23 Grand Slam titles in singles and 14 in doubles with her sister, Venus

Serena Williams (Photo: Shutterstock)

For the Athlete of the Year for the Hebrew year 5783, we chose Roy Ravivo, the young and talented soccer player who continues his father's legacy, an extraordinary phenomenon in the world of sports. Another exceptional phenomenon is the arrival of a pair of siblings to the global elite. The most successful sibling athletes in history are, most likely, Venus and Serena Williams, with 30 Grand Slam titles in singles and 14 in doubles. Today, Serena, the younger and more successful sister, celebrates her 42nd birthday with 23 out of 30 Grand Slam titles.

Serena Williams was born on September 26, 1982, in Michigan, USA, as the fifth daughter after four sisters, one of whom, Venus, would accompany her throughout her career. When she was young, the family moved to Compton, a city in Los Angeles, USA. Despite its many sprawling houses, Compton was plagued by crime and poverty. Richard Williams, the father of Serena and Venus, dreamt that at least one of his daughters would become a professional tennis player and lift the family out of the impoverished city.

In order to fulfill the dream, he began teaching his daughters tennis from a young age, and at the age of 4, Serena won her first tournament in the children's category. By the age of 12, Serena had won 46 out of 49 tournaments in which she participated, often exchanging the top spot in the junior rankings with her sister. In 1991, when she was nine years old, Richard withdrew his daughters from the junior circuit due to incidents of racism they experienced.

Already at the age of 17, Serena Williams wins the Grand Slam together with her sister

He took them to Rick Macci's tennis academy in Florida, where they trained with senior tennis players. The family moved to Florida to stay close to the girls. Serena entered the adult circuit at the age of 14. At 16, when she was ranked 304th in the world, she beat Mary Pierce and Monica Seles, both from the top ten, and burst into the public consciousness for the first time.

A year later, in 1998, the young tennis sensation continued her rise, entering the top 20 in the world and reaching the quarter-finals of seven Grand Slam tournaments. That same year, she won Wimbledon and the US Open in mixed doubles, partnering with Max Mirnyi. In doing so, she and her sister Venus completed a year full of Grand Slam victories, with Venus winning the French Open and the Australian Open.

Venus Williams (Photo: Shutterstock)

She added another victory at the tournament in Oklahoma alongside her sister, making the Williams sisters the third sibling pair in history to win a tournament together. In 1999, she also achieved her first Grand Slam victories in both singles and doubles for women when she did so with her sister at the US Open, a day after winning the singles title. This win also marked history as she became the first African American female tennis player to win a Grand Slam since Althea Gibson in 1958.

Serena Williams - Catwoman

In that same year, she finished fourth in the world, only three years after joining the tour at the age of 18. In 2001, Williams reached the quarterfinals of three out of the four Grand Slam tournaments, making it to the final in one of them against her sister Venus. The final between the Williams sisters broke viewership records and Serena defeated Venus after two short sets. In the same year, they also met at the Indian Wells tournament, where Venus withdrew during the match. Serena faced boos from the crowd, and conspiracy theories began to circulate that their father was manipulating match outcomes between them.

Following the incident, despite winning the tournament, Serena decided not to participate in it anymore. Serena Williams continued her career that spanned over 27 years, winning 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 women's doubles titles, all with her sister, and two more mixed doubles titles. She faced numerous injuries throughout her career but repeatedly managed to return to the top of the world rankings.

Serena Williams with the Black Panther outfit (Photo: Shutterstock)

In 2018, a colorful event occurred when Serena Williams returned to the tour after maternity leave wearing a black outfit with a red stripe, which she referred to as her "Wakanda-inspired catsuit." The outfit, designed after the Black Panther comic book character (before the release of the movie), was dedicated by Williams to all mothers struggling to recover after childbirth. She said, "If I can do it, so can you. I love you all."

31 meetings between the Williams sisters

In tennis, one of the "formal" sports in the world, there is a dress code for each tournament, with the strictest one being at Wimbledon, where players are required to wear all-white attire. Indeed, Serena Williams' outfit was not well-received, and the President of the French Tennis Federation, Bernard Giudicelli, stated that it went too far and imposed a ban on similar outfits in the future. Throughout her career, Serena has faced fines amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars due to her outspokenness and heated arguments with referees.

Serena Williams (Photo: Shutterstock)

The two sisters, who grew up together, have faced each other 31 times in adult tournaments, including nine times in Grand Slam finals, with Serena winning 19 of those encounters. In 2021, a movie about their father, titled "King Richard," was released. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

On September 3, 2022, she was eliminated from the US Open and announced her retirement from the game. Her 23 Grand Slam titles place her second on the all-time list for Grand Slam victories, and she is ranked first in the professional era.

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