Macci did not always agree with Williams's father, but respected that "he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls". Experiences of racism also drove this experience, as Richard Williams had heard white parents talk about the Williams sisters in a derogatory manner during tournaments. When asked in whether having followed the normal path of playing regularly on the junior circuit would have been beneficial, Williams responded: I think for Venus and I, we just attempted a different road, and it worked for us.
Williams's forehand is considered to be among the most powerful shots in the women's game,  as is her double-handed backhand. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance, and uses the same open stance for her forehand.
Williams's aggressive play, a "high risk" style, is balanced in part by her serve, which most say is the greatest in women's tennis history. What makes her serve even more deadly is her ball placement and her ability to consistently place powerful shots with great accuracy. Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player,[ who? She has won three Grand Slam singles titles after saving match points, the Australian Open semifinal versus Kim Clijsters , the Australian Open semifinal versus Maria Sharapova , and the Wimbledon semifinal versus Elena Dementieva , a feat achieved more often than any other player in history.
Williams then proceeded to win the next 4 games and defeated Azarenka. Williams fired three un-returnable serves in her final service game before winning the match and the title with a casual forehand volley on the next point. Professional career[ edit ] — Professional debut[ edit ] Williams's parents wanted their daughter to wait until she was 16 to participate in professional tournaments. Williams won her first professional title in doubles in Oklahoma City with Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA title.
Williams finished the year ranked No. To date, is the only year in which Williams failed to win a Grand Slam when she competed at all four majors. Battle of the sexes: Karsten Braasch vs the Williams sisters[ edit ] Main article: The Williams sisters had claimed they could beat any man outside the top , and he accepted the challenge.
Not known for having an ideal training regimen, Braasch nonetheless beat both Williams sisters, playing a single set against each. The score vs Serena was 6—1 and vs Venus 6—2. Becoming a top player[ edit ] Williams lost in the third round of the Australian Open to Sandrine Testud.
With Venus also winning the IGA Superthrift Classic in Memphis, Tennessee that day, the pair became the first sisters to win professional tournaments in the same week. Soon afterward at the Miami Masters , Williams had her match winning streak ended by her sister in the first all-sister singles final in WTA history,  and she then made her top debut, at No. She then lost in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open  and the German Open ,  and the third round of the French Open ,  where she and Venus won the women's doubles title.
To complete her season, Williams won a doubles match in the Fed Cup final against Russia. Williams ended the year ranked No. Williams started by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Elena Likhovtseva. Soon afterwards, Williams missed the French Open because of injury. She returned from injury at Wimbledon , where she lost to Venus in the semifinals, but the pair won the doubles title at the event. Williams successfully defended her title in Los Angeles, defeating Davenport in the final.
She reached the final of the Du Maurier Open where an injury forced her to retire from her match with Hingis. Her defense of the US Open title ended when she lost in the quarterfinals to Davenport. Williams teamed with Venus to win the gold medal in doubles at the Sydney Olympics that September.
Williams and her sister won the doubles title at the latter tournament, becoming only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles during their career, completing a "Career Grand Slam". However, the final was marred by the behavior of the crowd toward Williams and her family.
Crowd members were incensed at the perceived match fixing of games involving the family after Venus withdrew before their semifinal. Neither Williams nor her sister entered the tournament for fourteen years until Williams entered in as a wildcard and the top seed.
She then lost in the quarterfinals to Capriati at both the French Open and Wimbledon. This was the fourth consecutive Grand Slam tournament at which Williams had exited in the quarterfinals. During the North American hard-court season, she lost in the quarterfinals of Los Angeles against Monica Seles, then captured her second title of the year at the Rogers Cup , defeating Capriati in the final. Williams reached the final of the US Open, losing to sister Venus. That was the first Grand Slam tournament final contested by two sisters during the Open Era.
At the season-ending Tour Championships , Williams won the championship by walkover when Davenport withdrew before the start of the final due to a knee injury. Williams finished at No. She then won the Miami Masters for the first time, becoming one of three players in the Open Era to defeat the world's top 3 ranked players at one tournament,  after beating No.
Serena's straight set win over Venus was her second career win over her sister. Williams played three clay-court tournaments before the French Open. Her first tournament was at Charleston , where she was the third seed.
Williams reached the quarterfinals before losing to Patty Schnyder. She reached her first clay-court final in May, at the Eurocard German Open losing to Justine Henin in a third set tiebreak. Williams went on to win her first clay court title at the Italian Open , defeating Capriati in the semifinals and Henin in the final.
Williams was the third seed at the French Open at Roland Garros, where she claimed her first title there by defeating defending champion Capriati in the semifinals and sister Venus in the final to win her second Grand Slam tournament title and her first in two-and-a-half years. At Wimbledon , Williams won tennis' oldest championship for the first time in her life, defeating Venus to win a Grand Slam singles title without dropping a set for the first time in her career.
This victory earned Williams the world No. The top-seeded player at the US Open, Williams reached the final where, for the third Grand Slam in a row, she defeated her sister to win the title, the second US Open crown of her career.
She reached the final at the year-end Home Depot Championships at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, where she lost to fifth-seeded Clijsters in straight sets, ending an match winning streak.
She was the first African-American to end a year with that ranking since Althea Gibson in [ citation needed ] and was the first woman to win three Grand Slam tournament titles in one year since Hingis in At the Australian Open , Williams reached the tournament's semifinals for the first time, where she recovered from 5—1 down in the third set and saved two match points before defeating Clijsters.
This feat was dubbed the "Serena Slam" by the press. Williams's winning streak came to an end when she lost the final of the Family Circle Cup to Henin, her first loss of the year after 21 wins. Despite these losses, Williams was the top seed at the French Open , where she lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Henin, marking Williams's first loss in a Grand Slam tournament since The match was controversial, as Williams questioned Henin's sportsmanship, and spectators applauded Williams's errors.
This was Williams's second consecutive Wimbledon title and her sixth Grand Slam singles title overall. Wimbledon was Williams's last tournament of ; she pulled out of three events in the USA and then underwent surgery on the quadriceps tendon in her knee in early August.
Williams was initially expected to be out for six to eight weeks. Injuries and the comeback[ edit ] Main articles: Delivering a serve at an exhibition in November Although ranked No. This was the first time that Williams had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in A few weeks later, even though her ranking had dropped to No. She won six matches en route to the final, where she was defeated by 13th-seeded Sharapova in straight sets. This loss caused her ranking to drop out of the top 10 for the first time since After missing her national championship in , Williams returned for the US Open , where she was seeded third despite her No.
She lost in the U. Open quarterfinals to Capriati in three sets in controversial fashion. Williamses successful season allowed her to qualify for the Tour Championships , held again in Los Angeles. In the round-robin phase of the tournament, Williams defeated Dementieva and Anastasia Myskina and lost to Davenport, but still advanced to the elimination stage. After winning her semifinal, she lost to Sharapova in the final, where she suffered an abdominal injury.
At the Australian Open , Williams rejected suggestions that she and sister Venus were a declining force in tennis, following Venus's early exit. In the final, Williams defeated top seed Davenport to win her second Australian Open and seventh Grand Slam singles title, winning 12 of the last 15 games. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting, at the Australian Open.
Williams played just one more match that fall, a loss to No. She failed to qualify for the year-end championship for the first time since and she finished the year ranked No. Williams in Williams made her debut at the Australian Open. She stayed away from pro tennis for six months during the season. After she had shut herself off from the world for a period, Williams saw a therapist daily. Williams had slipped to No.
On her return, Williams defeated Myskina and Bethanie Mattek ,   before losing in the semifinals to Vera Zvonareva. At the US Open , Williams needed a wildcard to enter the tournament, as her ranking at the cut-off time was No.
However her ranking had improved to 79th by the time the tournament came around. Williams began with renewed confidence, stating her intention to return to the top of the rankings,  a comment Wimbledon men's singles champion and commentator Pat Cash branded "deluded". Shortly before her first match, a representative from Nike paid her a visit in the players' lounge, informing her that if she did not perform to her accustomed level, the company might drop her.
Williams claimed that Nike's ultimatum meant that she would have to reach the quarterfinals at least. In the third round, Williams found herself two points away from going home against Nadia Petrova , but fought back to win in three sets, which was her first win over a top player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the Australian Open final.
Williams described them as "good players. Players who certainly didn't expect an overweight, out-of-shape, has been champion like me to give them a game. Previewing the finals, Tracy Austin stated that, although Williams had a great tournament, she believed that the ride was over and that Sharapova would have no trouble with Williams. Williams thought it was mean and unnecessary and used it as motivation along with other criticism.