Venus Williams Biography

Venus Williams has won the ladies’ singles tennis championship at Wimbledon in 2000, 2001, and last year in 2005. In 2000 she became the first female African American champion at the world’s biggest tennis tournament since Althea Gibson in 1957 and 1958. She was runner up to sister Serena in 2002 and 2003. Having been first or second for five of the past six years does not mean winning this year will be easy, however, as the sixth seeded Venus Williams would face top seeded and favorite Ameile Mauresmo of France in the quarterfinals, if both make it that far in the tournament. Mauresmo, the reigning Australian Open champion, is a favorite for the first time and plays qualifier Ivana Abramovich of Croatia in the first round.

Besides winning Wimbledon three times and being second twice, career tennis highlights for the former number one player in the world, Venus Williams, have included winning two gold medals at the Sydney Olympics, the 1999 French Open Doubles championship (with Serena as her partner, the first time in the 20th century sisters had won the championship), winning the U.S. Open championship in 2000 and 2001 winning the French Open in 2002, and the Australian Open in 2003, and being second in five major championships in 2003, every time losing to Serena.

Venus Williams was not at her best when she played her sister in the 2003 Wimbledon final, as she suffered a severe adnominal injury during the match. The injury required treatment during the match, but she continued to play, losing 6-4, 2-6, 2-6.

Venus Williams did win the biggest tennis tournament in the world last year at Wimbledon, but the career of herself and her sister has suffered after an older sister, Yetunde Price was killed by gunshots on September 14, 2003. They both suffered injuries that kept them from playing in the later half of the 2003 year, and Belgian players Kim Clijsters and Justine Henin-Hardenne became dominant.

Venus Williams was born June 17, 1980 in Lynwood California. She and Serena were both coached in tennis by father, Richard. Both sisters turned professional at a young age (Venus at 14) but did not play regularly until the late 1990’s.

Venus reached the finals of the U.S. Open in 1997 and won her first Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) championship the next year. In the 2001 U.S. Open Venus Williams defeated Serena Williams for the championship, in what became the first sisters’ championship since 1884 and the first time two African Americans competed for the title.

In 2005 Venus Williams lost to 15-year-old Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva at the French Open, but she recovered the next month to reach the Wimbledon finals without dropping a set. To accomplish that, she had to defeat defending champion Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. In the finals she overcame a match point against number one seed Lindsey Davenport to win 4-6, 7-6(4), 9-7. That was her third championship at the biggest tennis tournament in the world, to go along with her two second place finishes. As the 14th seed in the draw, Venus Williams became the lowest seed ever to win the championship.

At the young age of 18, Venus Williams made the fastest serve in women’s tennis history at 127.4 miles-per-hour to get an ace against Mary Pierce in the semifinals of the Swisscom Challenge in Zurich Switzerland.

Venus was placed 25th on the list of the 40 greatest players of the tennis era by Tennis Magazine in 2005.

Both Venus and Serena were home schooled and have their high school diplomas. They both enrolled in the Art Institute of Florida in 1999 and studied fashion design. They both remain close friends, despite their on court rivalry.

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