Serena Williams

“The success of every woman should be the inspiration to another. We should raise each other up. Make sure you’re very courageous: be strong, be extremely kind, and above all be humble.”

Serena Williams, American tennis champion, 1981-present.

Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam tennis titles in 25 years, more than any other woman (or man) in the world. Known for her powerful style of play and colorful fashion choices, she has become a symbol of female empowerment and has single-handedly rewritten the women’s tennis rulebook. 

Growing up in Los Angeles, Williams learned to play tennis on public courts with her older sister Venus, taught by their domineering father. She went pro in 1995, winning her first U.S. Open in women's singles four years later. Playing doubles, the sisters would go on to win 14 Grand Slam tennis titles. Many of Williams’ subsequent Grand Slam wins were against Venus.

Never afraid to be herself, Williams expressed her sense of style through jewellery, nail art and hairstyles, all part of an inimitable personal brand. She is known for subverting tennis dress codes in catsuits, tutus, studs and denim. This photo from the U.S. Open (where tennis whites aren’t required) features a lavender tulle ensemble designed by the late, great Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh. At one recent French Open Williams wore Abloh’s creations for Nike, including a cape emblazoned with the French words for “Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess.” At the Australian Open, which took place over Black History Month, Williams wore an asymmetrical one-legged neon catsuit in homage to Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo-Jo) the Black track star who won an Olympic medal in a single-legged catsuit in 1984. The New York Times has called her “the Amelia Bloomer of tennis,” referring to the 19th century American women’s rights advocate.

In 2017 Williams announced her pregnancy and she would go on to have a daughter, Olympia, with Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, whom she later married. She was determined to return to world tennis domination after childbirth—and she did, reaching the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2018.

Outside of tennis, Williams builds schools in Jamaica and Africa and is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. Also a business woman, she has a diamond jewellery line and a fashion label. The tagline of her blog, Serena’s World, is “Serena dreams big and lives her life even bigger. She’s not even close to being done.”


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