By Michael Kachitsa
The Williams sisters are two professional American tennis players: Venus Williams (b. 1980), a seven-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), and Serena Williams (b. 1981), twenty-three-time Grand Slam title winner (singles), both of whom were coached from an early age by their parents Richard Williams and Oracene Price.
There is a noted professional rivalry between them—between the 2001 US Open and the 2017 Australian Open tournaments, they met in nine Grand Slam singles finals. They became the first two players, female or male, to play in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals from the 2002 French Open to the 2003 Australian Open; Serena famously won all four to complete the first of two “Serena Slams”.
Between 2000 and 2016, a 17-year span, they collectively won 12 Wimbledon singles titles (Venus won five, and Serena won seven). By winning the 2001 Australian Open women’s doubles title, they became the fifth pair to complete the Career Doubles Grand Slam and the only pair to complete the Career Doubles Golden Slam.
Both sisters have been ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the world No. 1 position in both singles and doubles. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus Williams and Serena Williams were ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, marking the first time in history that sisters occupied the top 2 singles spots in the world rankings. During the 2010 French Open, they became the co-world No. 1 players in women’s doubles. On 21 June 2010, Serena and Venus again held the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings spots in singles, respectively, some eight years after first accomplishing this feat. At the time, Serena was three months shy of her 29th birthday and Venus had just celebrated her 30th birthday.
Both players have won four gold medals at the Summer Olympics, one each in singles and three in doubles–all won together—the most of any tennis players. Venus has also won a silver in mixed doubles at the 2016 Rio Olympics. As a duo, they have also completed the Career Golden Slam in doubles, twice. Between the two of them, they have completed the Boxed Set, winning all four grand slams in singles, women’s doubles, and mixed doubles. They won all of the mixed doubles titles in 1998 to go along with their titles in singles and women’s doubles.