June 17, 1980
Lynwood, Arkansas, United States
Hank Kuehne, Nicholas Hammond
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Born in Southern California in 1980, Venus Williams' father was determined that she would be a tennis prodigy. Richard Williams began coaching Venus and her younger sister, Serena, before they turned 5 years old. When Venus was 10, the family moved to Florida so she and her sister could attend a tennis academy. She made her professional debut in a tournament in 1994, nearly beating Anrantxa Sánchez Vicario, then ranked number 2 in the world. After five years, their father pulled them out of the academy and began coaching them on his own. Williams began to play professionally in earnest in 1997, breaking into the top 100 rankings and earning runner up at the US Open. She won her first tournament in 1998, and was ranked in the top 10, but didn't win a Grand Slam event until 2000, when she won the women's titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, in addition to winning the women's singles title at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia as well as the women's doubles Gold medal with her sister. Williams defended her titles at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open (defeating her sister in the final) in 2001, and in 2002 became the first African-American woman to be ranked number 1 in the world. The same year she faced her sister in three Grand Slam finals (French Open, Wimbledon, U.S. Open), losing all three times. In 2003, Williams began to miss a number of matches due to injury, but maintained a high level of excellence and returned to win Wimbledon again in 2005, 2007, and 2008, ranking as high as number 2 in the world in 2010. Williams injuries got the better of her, but after recovering from a 2013 back injury she managed to get back into form in 2017, losing in the final match of the Australian Open and Wimbledon and finished the year ranked number 5 in the world. As a doubles team, Venus and her sister were unrivaled, appearing in 14 Grand Slam finals and winning all of them.