Our History Makers: Venus & Serena Williams

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Venus and Serena Williams grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton, California and were coached by their father from a very young age to win BIG.

The sisters were playing in tournaments before their teens, but their father/manager pulled them from competition to finish their education. At the time, the decision was not popular among many due to the talent the girls exhibited but later earned praise for the decision.

Home schooled by their mother, it was Venus who turned pro at 14 and three years short years made it to the U.S. Open only to be defeated by Martina Hingis in 1997. Meanwhile, sister Serena was already rising through the ranks and in 1999 became the first sister to win a Grand Slam event at the U.S. Open. The following year, it was Venus’ turn – as she defeated Lindsey Davenport to win the 2000 Wimbledon championship – with both sisters easily taking the Wimbledon doubles title that year. Since then, Venus and Serena Williams have been two of the most watched players on the women’s tennis circuit.

In 2005, Serena was victorious at the Australian Open, overcoming a back injury to again beat Lindsey Davenport (2-6, 6-3, 6-0) in the final.

In March, 2005, the battle of the Williams sisters at the Nasdaq 100 Open went to Venus, who was later victorious in a grueling match with Lindsey Davenport to finally take the ladies’ championship at Wimbledon in 2005.

As the defending champ in the Australian Open in 2006, Serena was ousted in the third round by Daniela Hantuchova. However, in 2007 Serena staged a dramatic comeback in Melbourne by defeating Maria Sharapova in the women’s final.

Venus later took her fourth women’s title at Wimbledon against France’s Marion Bartoli in the July 2007 final, but a year later announced an open-ended hiatus from the sport citing an undisclosed medical condition. In 2008, however, the pair faced off at the women’s final at Wimbledon for the first time since 2003 with Venus overpowering her sister 7-5 6-4.

In 2008, Serena beat sister Venus in a U.S. Open matchup in the quarterfinals to achieve ultimate victory in the women’s final against Serbian champ Jelena Jankovic. Serena is now the No. 1 seeded womens player in the world.

The sisters squared off again at the 2009 Wimbledon ladies final, with Serena clinching her third Wimbledon win and 11th Grand Slam crown with a 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 victory over sister Venus.

Serena and Venus were the subjects of a reality TV show on the ABC Family network entitled Venus and Serena : For Real, which debuted in July 2005. By 2009, Serena Williams released a new autobiography, Queen of the Court, and won her place back atop the world’s rankings. Venus went on to pursue art classes and earned a certificate in interior design. She has started her clothing line called “EleVen” as well as a collection of women’s apparel for Wilson’s Leather. In addition, Venus has launched her own interior design company, V Starr Interiors.

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