Venus Ebony Starr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is an American professional tennis player, who is a former World No. 1 and is ranked World No. 6 in singles as of July 25, 2016. She has been ranked World No. 1 in singles by the Women's Tennis Association on three occasions, for a total of 11 weeks. She became the World No. 1 for the first time on February 25, 2002, becoming the first black American woman to achieve this feat during the Open Era. She is credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women's professional tennis tour, and is generally regarded as one of the all-time greats of women's tennis.
Her seven Grand Slam singles titles ties her twelfth on the all-time list, more than any other active female player except for her younger sister Serena Williams. She also has 14 Grand Slam titles in women's doubles and two in mixed doubles. Her five Wimbledon singles titles tie her with two other women for eighth place on the all-time list. Venus Williams is one of four women in the open era to have won five or more Wimbledon singles titles. Between the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments held. She is one of only five women in the open era to win 200 or more main draw Grand Slam singles matches.
Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in singles and three in women's doubles. She and her sister Serena have won more Olympic gold medals than any other tennis player, male or female. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
With 49 singles titles, Williams is behind only her sister Serena among active players on the WTA Tour. Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest since January 1, 2000. She is also one of only three active WTA players to have made the finals of all four Grand Slams, the other players being her sister and Russian Maria Sharapova.
Venus Williams has played against her sister in 27 professional matches since 1998, and won 11. They have played against each other in eight Grand Slam singles finals, with Serena winning six times. Beginning with the 2002 French Open, they opposed each other in four consecutive Grand Slam singles finals, the first time in the Open Era. On the other side, the pair have won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles playing alongside each other and are undefeated in Grand Slam finals. The Williams sisters also took part in the Battle of the Sexes tennis edition, in one of the few instances, where female tennis players played against ranked male tennis players.
The Williams family moved from Compton, California, to West Palm Beach, Florida, when she was ten, so that Venus and Serena could attend the tennis academy of Rick Macci, who took notice of the sisters and who would provide additional coaching. He did not always agree with Williams' father but respected that "he treated his daughters like kids, allowed them to be little girls". Richard stopped sending his daughters to national junior tennis tournaments when Williams was eleven, since he wanted them to take it slow and focus on schoolwork. Another motivation was racial, as he had allegedly heard parents of other players disparage the Williams sisters during tournaments. At that time, Venus Williams held a 63–0 record on the United States Tennis Association junior tour and was ranked No. 1 among the under-12 players in Southern California. In 1995, Richard pulled his daughters out of Macci's academy, and from then on took over all coaching at their home.
Williams is a very powerful baseliner who also has an attacking all-court game. Her game is well adapted to grass, where she feels most comfortable, which is reflected in her five Wimbledon singles titles. She has developed into a skillful volleyer who uses her long "wingspan" (1.85m) and agility around the net. Williams also has great court coverage and can hit winners from a defensive position.
1994–96: Professional debut
Venus Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994, at the age of fourteen. In the second round of her first professional tournament, the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against World No. 2 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994.
In 1995, Williams played three more events as a wild card, falling in the first round of the tournament in Los Angeles and the tournament in Toronto but reaching the quarterfinals of the tournament in Oakland, defeating World No. 18 Amy Frazier in the second round for her first win over a top 20 ranked player before losing to Magdalena Maleeva.
Williams played five events in 1996, falling in the first round four times but reaching the third round in Los Angeles, before losing to World Number 1 Steffi Graf.
1997–99: Early success
1997: Debut Grand Slam final
Williams played 15 tour events in 1997, including five Tier I tournaments. She reached the quarterfinals in three of the Tier I events – the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells, California, the European Indoor Championships in Zürich, and the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. In Indian Wells in March, Williams defeated World No. 9 Iva Majoli in the third round for her first win over a player ranked in the top 10. She then lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 8 Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. Her ranking broke into the top 100 on April 14, 1997. She made her debut in the main draw of a Grand Slam tournament at the French Open, reaching the second round before losing to Nathalie Tauziat. She then lost in the first round of Wimbledon to Magdalena Grzybowska. During her debut at the US Open, she lost the final to Martina Hingis after defeating Irina Spîrlea in a semifinal famous for "the bump" in which Spîrlea intentionally collided with Williams during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated. She was the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach a US Open singles final on her first attempt and was the first unseeded US Open women's singles finalist since 1958. On September 8, 1997, her ranking broke into the top 50 for the first time. She ended the year ranked World No. 22.
1998: 1st WTA title & entering the top 10
In her debut at the Australian Open, Williams defeated younger sister Serena in the second round, which was the sisters' first professional meeting. Venus eventually lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 3 Davenport.
Three weeks later, Williams defeated World No. 2 Davenport for the first time in the semifinals of the IGA Tennis Classic in Oklahoma City. Williams then defeated Joannette Kruger in the final to win the first singles title of her career. In her first Tier I event of the year, Williams lost in the semifinals of the State Farm Evert Cup in Indian Wells to World No. 1 Hingis. The following week, Williams won the Tier I Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals. On March 30, 1998, her ranking broke into the top 10 for the first time, at World No. 10.
Williams played only one tournament on clay before the 1998 French Open. At the Italian Open in Rome, she defeated sister Serena in the quarterfinals and World No. 5 Sánchez Vicario in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Williams lost again to Hingis in the quarterfinals of the French Open. Williams lost her first match at the Direct Line International Championships in Eastbourne on grass before losing to eventual champion and World No. 3 Jana Novotná in the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. On July 27, 1998, her ranking rose to World No. 5.
Williams played three tournaments during the North American 1998 summer hard court season. She reached her fifth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 6 Monica Seles in the semifinals before losing to World No. 1 Davenport. Patellar tendonitis in her left knee caused her to retire from her quarterfinal match at the tournament in San Diego while trailing Mary Pierce 4–0 in the third set. At the US Open, Williams defeated fourth seeded Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals before losing to second seeded and eventual champion Davenport in the semifinals.
Williams played four tournaments the remainder of 1998. She won her third title of the year at the Grand Slam Cup in Munich in September, defeating World No. 9 Patty Schnyder in the final. She lost in the second round of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Filderstadt before losing in the final of the Tier I Swisscom Challenge in Zürich to World No. 1 Davenport and the semifinals of the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow to Pierce. She had earned enough points during the year to participate in the year-ending Chase Championship but withdrew from the tournament because of tendinitis in her knee. She finished the year ranked World No. 5.
In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles titles at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles that year, completing a "Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam". Williams won the first two women's doubles titles of her career, in Oklahoma City and Zürich. Both titles came with sister Serena, becoming only the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour doubles title.
1999: 3 Tier I titles & continued success
Williams started the 1999 tour in Australia, where she lost to World No. 10 Steffi Graf in the quarterfinals of the Medibank International in Sydney and World No. 1 Davenport in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. However, she rebounded at the Faber Grand Prix in Hanover, defeating Graf for the first time in the semifinals before losing the final to World No. 3 Novotná. Williams then successfully defended her titles in both Oklahoma City and Key Biscayne. She defeated Novotná and Graf to reach the final in Key Biscayne, where she defeated Serena in three sets in the first final on the WTA Tour to be contested by two sisters.
Williams played four clay court events during the spring. She lost her first match at the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. Three weeks later, however, she won her first title on clay at the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg, defeating Mary Pierce in the final. Williams then won the Tier I Italian Open in Rome, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 8 Pierce in the final. At the French Open, she extended her winning streak to 22 matches before losing in the fourth round to World No. 125 Barbara Schwartz. Williams teamed with Serena to win the women's doubles title at this event, the first Grand Slam title the pair won together.
At the 1999 Wimbledon Championships, Williams defeated World No. 17 Anna Kournikova in the fourth round to reach the quarterfinals for the second consecutive year, where she lost to eventual runner-up Graf.
Williams rebounded in the summer when she won two Fed Cup matches against Italy and lost in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford to World No. 1 Davenport. One week later, Williams defeated Davenport in the semifinals of the TIG Tennis Classic in San Diego before losing to World No. 2 Hingis in the final. In her last tournament before the US Open, Williams won the Pilot Pen Tennis in New Haven, Connecticut, defeating World No. 5 Seles in the semifinals and Davenport in the final. On August 30, 1999, her world ranking reached third for the first time. Seeded third at the US Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to World No. 1 Hingis in three sets. However, she teamed with singles champion Serena at this event to win their second Grand Slam women's doubles title.
During the remainder of the year, Williams contributed to the USA's victory over Russia in the Fed Cup final, winning one singles rubber before joining Serena to win the doubles rubber. At the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, Venus defeated Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Serena for the first time in the final. Venus won her sixth title of the year at the Tier I event in Zurich, defeating World No. 1 Hingis in the final. Four weeks later, she lost to Davenport in the semifinals of the tournament in Philadelphia. Making her debut at the year-ending Chase Championships, Williams lost to Hingis in the semifinals. She finished the year ranked World No. 3.
2000–02: Williams sisters domination
2000: Olympic gold medals & Wimbledon and US Open champion
In 2000, Williams missed the first five months of the year with tendinitis in both wrists. She returned to the tour during the European clay court season. She lost in the quarterfinals of the Betty Barclay Cup in Hamburg to Amanda Coetzer and in the third round of the Tier I Italian Open in Rome to Jelena Dokić. Although she had won only two of her four matches before the French Open, she was seeded fourth there. She won her first four matches in Paris without losing a set before losing in the quarterfinals to eighth-seeded and former champion Arantxa Sánchez Vicario in three sets.
Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and six tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, sister Serena in the semifinals, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She also teamed with Serena to win the women's doubles title at this event.
She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford and Monica Seles in the finals of both the Acura Classic in San Diego and the Pilot Pen Tennis championships in New Haven.
At the US Open, Williams defeated world no. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and world No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic Games in Sydney, she defeated Sánchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. She also won the gold medal in women's doubles with her sister Serena. Davenport eventually snapped her winning streak in October in the final of the Linz Open. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anemia. She finished the year ranked World No. 3 and with six singles titles.
2001: Achieving back-to-back Wimbledon & US Open titles
In 2001, Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Hingis. However, Venus teamed with Serena to win the doubles title at the event, completing a Career Golden Slam in women's doubles for the pair.
Williams also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Tennis Masters Series tournament in Indian Wells, California, where she controversially defaulted her match with sister Serena just before the match started. Venus had been suffering from knee tendinitis throughout the tournament and eventually this prevented her from playing. The following day, Venus and her father Richard were booed as they made their way to their seats to watch the final. Serena was subsequently booed during the final with Kim Clijsters and during the trophy presentation. Due to this, neither Williams sister entered the tournament for 14 years, with Serena entering in 2015 after appeals for forgiveness from the event and the WTA Tour. Venus rebounded from the Indian Wells 'boycott' controversy to win the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. She defeated Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final, after saving eight championship points. Because of this victory, her ranking rose to a career high of World No. 2.
During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I EUROCARD Ladies German Open to World No. 18 Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett. This was only the second time that she had lost in the first round of a Grand Slam singles tournament. Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Davenport in the semifinals and eighth-seeded Henin in three sets in Henin's first Wimbledon final.
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams won for the second consecutive year the tournaments in San Diego, defeating Seles in the final, and in New Haven, defeating Davenport in the final. Williams also won the US Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Clijsters, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati. She played Serena in the final, which was the first Grand Slam singles final contested by two sisters during the open era. Venus won the match and her fourth Grand Slam singles title. Venus also became only the sixth woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navratilova (twice), Steffi Graf (twice), Althea Gibson, Maureen Connolly Brinker, and Helen Wills Moody (twice).
2002: World no. 1 ranking & 4 consecutive Grand Slam finals
Williams began 2002 by winning the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts in Gold Coast, Australia, defeating Henin in the final. However, she then lost for the first time in her career to Seles in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open. Williams then went on to win the Open Gaz de France in Paris when Jelena Dokić withdrew from the final, and the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, defeating Henin in the final. As a result of her strong start to the season, Williams assumed the World No. 1 position for the first time on February 25, dislodging Capriati. Williams was the first African-American woman ever to hold the ranking. She held it for just three weeks before surrendering it back to Capriati.
Williams failed to defend her title in Miami after losing in the semifinals to Serena. However, she made a strong start to the clay-court season, winning the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida, defeating Henin in the final. A week after winning that tournament, she once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1, before losing it again to Capriati after three weeks. During those three weeks, Williams had made the final in Hamburg, defeating Hingis in the semifinals before losing to Clijsters in the final. Seeded second at the French Open, Williams defeated former champion Seles to reach the semifinals for the first time. There, she defeated Clarisa Fernández. In the final, Williams met Serena for a second time in a Grand Slam final, with Serena winning. Venus once again replaced Capriati as the World No. 1 as a result of reaching the final.
As the top seed at Wimbledon, Williams defeated Henin in the semifinals to make the final for the third consecutive year. However, there, she lost to Serena. This result meant Serena replaced Venus as the World No. 1. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the women's doubles title at the event, their fifth Grand Slam women's doubles title together.
Williams won the titles in San Diego and New Haven for the third consecutive year, defeating Davenport and Dokic to win the former and defeating Davenport in the final of the latter. At the US Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals and Amélie Mauresmo in three sets to make the final. Playing Serena for their third consecutive Grand Slam final, Serena won once again. After that, Venus played just four more matches during the season. She reached the semifinals at the year-ending Sanex Championships after defeating Seles in the quarterfinals, but she then was forced to retire against Clijsters due to injury. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 2 having won seven titles, her best showing in both respects of her career.
2003–06: Injuries and losses
2003: Australian Open final & injuries
Williams started 2003 by defeating fifth seed Justine Henin to make the final of the Australian Open for the first time. In the final, however, she lost to sister Serena. This marked the first time in the open era that the same two players had met in four consecutive Grand Slam finals. Venus and Serena teamed to win the women's doubles title at the event, their sixth Grand Slam title in women's doubles.
In February, Williams won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Kim Clijsters in the final. However, shortly afterwards, she began to struggle with injury. She reached the final of the clay-court J&S Cup in Warsaw, before being forced to retire against Amélie Mauresmo. She then suffered her earliest exit at a Grand Slam tournament in two years when she lost in the fourth round of the French Open to Vera Zvonareva.
At Wimbledon, Williams was seeded fourth. Williams defeated former champion Lindsay Davenport in the quarterfinals and Kim Clijsters in the semifinals to advance to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost again to sister Serena.
Wimbledon was Williams' last event of the year as an abdominal injury that occurred during the Clijsters match prevented her from playing again. While she was recovering from the injury, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered. Williams finished the year ranked world no. 11. It was the first time in nearly six years that she had dropped out of the top 10.
2004: Tough losses & further injuries
In 2004, Williams came back to the tour suffering inconsistent results. As the third seed because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. She then lost in the quarterfinals of her next three tournaments.
Williams began to find her form at the beginning of the clay-court season. At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated Conchita Martínez in the final to win her first title in over a year and the second Tier I title on clay of her career. She then won in Warsaw, defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final, before reaching the final of the Tier I German Open in Berlin. She then withdrew from that match against Mauresmo due to injury. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay-court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, after making the quarterfinals to extend her winning streak on the surface to 19 matches, she lost to eventual champion Anastasia Myskina. Despite her defeat, she re-entered the top 10.
At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second-round match to Croatian Karolina Šprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Šprem an unearned point in the second-set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties. This defeat marked the first time since 1997 that Williams had exited Wimbledon prior to the quarterfinals. After Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year at the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California, where she was beaten by Lindsay Davenport for the first time since 2000.
As the defending champion at the Athens Olympics, Williams lost in the third round to Mary Pierce. She then won three very close matches against Petra Mandula, Shikha Uberoi and Chanda Rubin to make the fourth round of the US Open where she lost to Davenport, the first time she had ever lost at the US Open prior to the semifinals. Williams completed the year by losing in the quarterfinals of three indoor tournaments in the fall, a period that included defeat in her first meeting with 17-year-old Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova at the Zurich Open. Williams finished the year as world no. 9 and did not qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships.
2005: 3rd Wimbledon title
In 2005, Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final in Antwerp, defeating Clijsters and Myskina en route. In the final, Williams was a set and a service break up against Mauresmo before eventually losing.
In March, at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, Williams defeated sister and Australian Open champion Serena in the quarterfinals, the first time she had defeated Serena since 2001. Venus went on to lose in the semifinals to world no. 3 Sharapova. In May, Williams won her first title in over a year at the clay-court İstanbul Cup, defeating Nicole Vaidišová in the final. However, at the French Open, she lost in the third round to 15-year-old Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently tested positive for steroids and was suspended.
Williams was seeded 14th at Wimbledon. In the quarterfinals of the tournament, she defeated French Open runner-up Pierce in an epic second-set tiebreak, winning it 12–10 to make the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in two years. There, she defeated defending champion and second-seeded Maria Sharapova to make the Wimbledon final for the fifth time in six years. Playing top-seeded Davenport in the final, Williams saved a match point with a backhand winner en route to winning. This was Williams' third Wimbledon singles title, her fifth Grand Slam singles title overall and her first since 2001. It was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women's final at Wimbledon. In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (world no. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history. Williams returned to the top 10 following the victory.
Following Wimbledon, Williams reached her fourth final of the year in Stanford, where she lost to Clijsters. At the US Open, Williams achieved her second consecutive win over Serena in the fourth round, but then lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Kim Clijsters. Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Beijing. She finished the year ranked world no. 10. It was the first year since 2001 that she had finished a year ranked higher than Serena.
2006: Wrist injury & drop in the rankings
In 2006, Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova, which was her earliest loss ever at that tournament. After that loss, she did not play again for three months due to a wrist injury. She returned in late April on clay in Warsaw, where she defeated former world no. 1 Martina Hingis in the second round, before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals. Williams completed the clay-court season by reaching the quarterfinals of the French Open, where she lost to Nicole Vaidišová.
Williams was the defending champion and one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. However, she lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Jelena Janković. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss. Williams did not play in the US Open series or the US Open itself due to the wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months in October, she reinjured her wrist at the tournament in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwańska. Williams finished the season as world no. 46, her lowest finish since she began to play on the WTA Tour full-time in 1997. It was the second consecutive year she finished higher than Serena, who finished the year at world no. 95.
2007–10: Return to form and world number 2 ranking
2007: 4th Wimbledon title
Williams withdrew from the 2007 Australian Open, the second consecutive Grand Slam that she had missed due to her recurring wrist injury. She returned in February at the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, USA, defeating top-seeded Shahar Pe'er in the final, her first singles title since her victory at Wimbledon in 2005.
At the beginning of the clay-court season, Williams reached the semifinals of the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost to Jelena Janković on a third set tiebreak. She also lost to fourth seed Janković in the third round of the French Open, her third consecutive loss to Janković. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128 mph) serve, which was the second fastest woman's serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match at the time.
Williams was ranked World No. 31 going into Wimbledon and was seeded 23rd at the tournament due to her previous results at Wimbledon. Williams was a game away from defeat in her first round match against Alla Kudryavtseva and in her third round match against Akiko Morigami she was two points away from defeat, but she eventually won both 7–5 in the third set. She then advanced to reach her sixth Wimbledon final, after beating Maria Sharapova, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Ana Ivanovic in straight sets en route, where she defeated 18th seed Marion Bartoli also in straight sets. Williams thus became only the fourth woman in the open era to win Wimbledon at least four times, along with Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf. She also became the lowest-seeded Wimbledon champion in history, breaking the record she herself set in 2005. Williams returned to the top 20 as a result of the win.
At the US Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph (208 km/h) serve in the opening round, Williams advanced to her first Grand Slam semifinal outside of Wimbledon since 2003. However she then lost to eventual champion Justine Henin. The tournament resulted in Williams' ranking moving up to World No. 9. Williams then won her third title of the year at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, South Korea, defeating Maria Kirilenko in the final, before then losing in the final of the Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo to Virginie Razzano. Williams had earned enough points during the year to qualify for the year-ending WTA Tour Championships in Madrid; however, she withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia. Williams finished the year as World No. 8 with three titles, her best performance in both respects since 2002, and a winning percentage of 83 percent.
2008: 5th Wimbledon title & Olympic gold in doubles
In 2008, as the eighth seed at the Australian Open, Williams reached the quarterfinals for the first time since 2003. However, she then lost to eventual runner-up Ana Ivanovic. Williams made her first semifinal of the year at the Bangalore Open in Bangalore, India, where she met sister Serena for the first time since 2005 with Serena winning despite Venus holding a match point in the third set tie break.
Williams missed two tournaments at the beginning of the clay-court season due to undisclosed medical problems. At the French Open, Williams was seeded eighth but was eliminated by 26th-seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta in the third round.
Williams was the defending champion and seventh-seeded player at Wimbledon. Without dropping a set, she reached her seventh Wimbledon singles final. She then won her fifth Wimbledon singles title, and seventh Grand Slam singles title overall, by beating sister Serena in straight sets. This was the first time since 2003 that Venus and Serena had played each other in a Grand Slam final and was the first time since 2001 that Venus had defeated her in a Grand Slam final. Venus and Serena then teamed to win the women's doubles title, their first Grand Slam doubles title together since 2003.
Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the Beijing Olympics to Li Na. She did, however, earn a gold medal along with Serena in women's doubles, their second gold medal as a team, having won together at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. At the US Open, Williams was playing some of her best tennis since dominating the circuit in 2003, However, she was defeated in two tiebreaks by Serena in an epic quarter final match after Venus led 5–3 in both sets, and would later win the tournament.
At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany in October, Williams defeated a player ranked in the top three for the first time that season by defeating World No. 3 Dinara Safina to reach her third semifinal of the year. There, she lost to Janković. A fortnight later, Williams won the Zurich Open, defeating Ivanovic in the semifinals before defeating Pennetta in the final to claim her second title of the year and secure a position in the year-ending 2008 WTA Tour Championships in Doha, Qatar. There, Williams defeated World No. 2 Safina, World No. 3 Serena and World No. 5 Dementieva in the preliminary round-robin stage. In the semifinals, Williams defeated World No. 1 Janković before winning the year-ending tournament for the first time by defeating Vera Zvonareva in the final. She ended the year ranked sixth in the world with three titles and a winning percentage of 78 percent.
2009: 8th Wimbledon final
As the sixth seed at the 2009 Australian Open, Williams lost in the second round to Carla Suárez Navarro after holding a match point in the third set. However, she teamed up with Serena to win the women's doubles title at the event, their eighth Grand Slam doubles title together. Venus rebounded in singles play in February at the Premier 5 (formerly Tier I) Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating defending champion and World No. 4 Dementieva in the quarterfinals and World No. 1 Serena in the semifinals on a third set tiebreak. The latter win meant that Venus led the head-to-head in career matches with her sister for the first time since 2002. Venus went on to defeat Virginie Razzano in the final. This win meant Williams was ranked in the top five for the first time since 2003, while it also marked her 40th professional singles title, only the twelfth player in the open era to achieve the feat. Williams won another title the following week at the Abierto Mexicano Telcel in Acapulco, Mexico, defeating Pennetta in the final. This was her first title on clay since 2005.
On European clay, Williams reached the semifinals in Rome before losing to World No. 1 Safina. This run meant Williams was ranked in the top three for the first time since 2003. Seeded third at the French Open, Williams lost to Ágnes Szávay in the third round, the third consecutive year she had exited at that stage.
Williams was seeded third at Wimbledon. She advanced to her eighth Wimbledon final where she had won 36 straight sets (held since Wimbledon 2007). In the final however she lost the first set tie break and from then on lost in two sets to sister Serena. The Williams sisters teamed up to win the doubles title at the tournament for the fourth time.
In Stanford, Williams defeated Maria Sharapova and Elena Dementieva to advance to the finals, where she would lose to Marion Bartoli. Teaming with her sister, she played doubles and won the title, defeating Monica Niculescu and Yung-Jan Chan.
At the 2009 US Open, as the third seed, Williams made it to the fourth round before losing to Kim Clijsters in three sets. Venus then teamed up with Serena to play doubles at the open, where they won the title over defending champions and world No. 1s in doubles, Cara Black and Liezel Huber, claiming their third grand slam doubles title in 2009.
Williams' last tournament in 2009 was the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships, where she was the defending champion in singles. She was in the maroon group which includes her sister Serena, along with Elena Dementieva and Svetlana Kuznetsova. She lost her first match against Dementieva, and her second match against Serena- both in straight sets, after taking the first set. In her third and final RR match, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova. Because of Dementieva's loss to Kuznetsova in their round robin match, Venus advanced to the semifinal of the championships. In her semifinal match, she defeated Jelena Janković of Serbia to advance to her second consecutive final in the tournament. In the final, she lost to her sister Serena. In doubles, Venus teamed with Serena as the second seeds. However, they lost to Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez in the semifinal. Their doubles record at the end of the year stood at 24–2.
Venus finished 2009 ranked world number 6 in singles (with a winning percentage of 70 percent) and world number 3 in doubles with Serena, in spite of playing only 6 events together in 2009.
2010: Return to world no. 2
Williams played at the Australian Open as the sixth seed. She defeated 17th-seeded Francesca Schiavone in the fourth round. She was two points from defeating 16th-seeded Li Na in the quarterfinals before losing in three sets. In doubles, she teamed with her sister Serena to successfully defend their title, defeating the top-ranked team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber in the final. The Williams sisters are undefeated in clay at the Abierto Mexico Telcel in Acapulco where she was the defending champion. She reached the semifinals after recovering from a 1–5 third set deficit to Laura Pous Tió in the quarterfinals. In the final, she defeated first-time finalist Polona Hercog from Slovenia. This was her 43rd career title, the most among active female players.
Her next tournament was the Premier Mandatory Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, where she was seeded third. She defeated World No. 9 Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and World No. 13 Marion Bartoli in the semifinals to reach her third straight WTA tour final and fourth Sony Ericsson Open final. She was defeated by Kim Clijsters in the final in just 58 minutes, ending her 15-match winning streak. By reaching the final, her ranking improved to World No. 4 and she crossed the $26 million mark in career prize money, the only player besides Serena to do so.
The knee injury that hampered her during the final of the Sony Ericsson Open forced her to skip the Fed Cup tie against Russia and the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. Williams returned to the tour at the Premier 5 Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. She suffered the worst defeat of her career in the quarterfinals, losing to World No. 4 Jelena Janković 6–0, 6–1. Despite this loss, Williams' ranking improved to World No. 3 on May 10.
On May 17, her ranking improved to World No. 2, behind only Serena. This was the fourth time that the William sisters' have occupied the top two spots, and the first time since May 2003.
Her next tournament was the French Open, where she played both singles and doubles despite her knee injury. Seeded second in singles, she advanced past the third round at this tournament for the first time since 2006 before losing to Nadia Petrova in the round of 16. She also played doubles with Serena as the top seeds. Their defeat of Huber and Anabel Medina Garrigues in the semifinals increased their doubles ranking to World No. 1. They then defeated 12th seeded Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final to win their fourth consecutive Grand Slam women's doubles title.
Her next tournament was the Wimbledon Championships, where she had reached the final the previous three years. Despite her knee injury, she made it to the quarterfinals, where she lost to Tsvetana Pironkova. Pironkova was ranked 82nd in the world and had never gone past the second round of a Grand Slam event. As a result, Williams dropped to #4 in the world. She was the defending champion in doubles with her sister Serena, having won the tournament in the previous two years. However, they lost this time in the quarterfinals to Elena Vesnina and Vera Zvonareva.
Williams then missed all tournaments in the US Open Series because of a left knee injury but still participated at the US Open as the third seed. She won three matches to move into the fourth round. Williams became one of only two women in 2010 (along with Caroline Wozniacki) to reach at least the fourth round at all four Grand Slam singles tournaments. Williams then defeated Pe'er and French Open champion Schiavone en route to her eighth US Open semifinal, against defending champion Clijsters. Williams won the first set of their match and recovered from 5–2 down in the second set but ultimately double-faulted on a key point near the end of the match and lost in three sets. Because of Serena's withdrawal from the US Open, Venus did not participate at the doubles event where she was the defending champion.
The recovery of her left knee took longer than expected and it forced her to miss the rest of 2010, including the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships and Fed Cup final. Williams ended the year ranked fifth in singles, the first time she ended a year in the top five since 2002, while playing only nine tournaments. She finished the year ranked eleventh in doubles.
2011–13: Injuries and illness
2011: Sjögrens Syndrome diagnosis
Williams started 2011 by participating at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic. She lost both her singles matches against Vera Zvonareva and Li Na, but she managed to help Team America to win the silver group. Her next tournament was the 2011 Australian Open where she was the fourth seed. She retired in the second game of her third round match against the 30th seed Andrea Petkovic due to a hip muscle injury. This was Williams' first retirement during a match in a Grand Slam tournament since 1994 and thus ended her record of most Grand Slam matches without ever retiring, with 250 consecutive matches. This was also her first retirement from a match since LA Women's Tennis Championships in Los Angeles in 2004, ending her 294 consecutive matches without retiring.
The injury forced Williams to pull out of the Fed Cup quarterfinal against Belgium, the Dubai Tennis Championships, and the Abierto Mexicano Telcel, where she was the two-time defending champion in both tournaments. She also pulled out of the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami causing her ranking to drop to world no. 15. Further, she missed Madrid and Rome. This caused her rankings to drop to world no. 29. Originally scheduled to come back in Brussels, she eventually withdrew from the Premier tournament. Further, she also missed Roland Garros, marking the first Grand Slam tournament since 2003 US Open where neither of the Williams sisters are competing.
Williams then made her first appearance since the Australian Open in Eastbourne. Unseeded, she lost for the first time in eleven meetings to Daniela Hantuchová in the quarterfinals. She was seeded 23rd at the 2011 Wimbledon Championships. She played for nearly three hours in her second round match against Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm, winning in three tough sets. She then defeated Spaniard María José Martínez Sánchez in the third round but was defeated by Bulgarian 32nd seed Tsvetana Pironkova in the fourth round.
Originally scheduled to participate in Toronto and Cincinnati, Williams withdrew due to viral illness. Her next scheduled tournament was the US Open. As an unseeded player, Williams defeated Vesna Dolonts in the first round. She was scheduled to meet 22nd seed Sabine Lisicki in the second round, but withdrew before the match began due to Sjögren's syndrome, an autoimmune disease with which she was recently diagnosed. This marked the first time in her career that she did not reach the quarterfinals or better in any of the grandslam tournaments in a season. As a result, her ranking dropped to world no. 105. She switched to raw vegan diet after diagnosis.
Williams did not play for the rest of the year in competitive level; although she did appear in three exhibitions tournaments in November and early December. She played a match against Serena in Colombia which she won in straight sets. The week later, the sisters appeared in Milan, Italy to play exhibition against Italian duo Francesca Schiavone and Flavia Pennetta. Williams lost both her singles tie-break matches but won the doubles pairing with her sister. Williams then headed to play her third exhibition tournament in Barbados, where she lost to Victoria Azarenka.
She ended the year ranked world no. 102. This is her first finish of a season ranked outside of the world top 50 since 1997.
2012: Comeback & Olympic record
Williams was scheduled to play in Auckland as her preparation before the Australian Open. However, she withdrew from the tournament because of her ongoing health problems. Further, she announced in her website that she also withdrew from the Australian Open. However, she also mentioned her intention to come back to the WTA circuit in February. As a result, her ranking dropped further to world no. 135. Williams returned to the competition in the doubles match of the Fed Cup's World Group II tie between USA and Belarus that was held in Worcester, Massachusetts on February 4–5. She partnered with Liezel Huber and won the dead-rubber in straight sets.
Williams was granted wildcards to participate in Miami and Charleston. In her first singles match since the 2011 US Open, Williams defeated Japanese veteran, Kimiko Date-Krumm in straight sets in the first round of Miami. She followed up the victory by defeating world no. 3 Petra Kvitová in the second round, her first Top 3 victory since defeating Svetlana Kuznetsova in 2009. Then, she beat Aleksandra Wozniak in a three-set tiebreaker in the third round, in a match that lasted almost three hours and where she saved a match point, to advance to the fourth round. In the round of 16, she bested world no. 15, Ana Ivanovic in three sets to reach the quarterfinals where she appeared fatigued and lost to the eventual champion, Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets. Her run improved her ranking to no. 87. A week later in Charleston, she reached her second consecutive quarterfinals appearance, defeating Jelena Janković en route. She lost in three sets in the quarterfinals to Samantha Stosur.
In the following the clay court season, Williams was granted wildcards to participate in Madrid and Rome. In Madrid, she lost in the second round to Angelique Kerber but still improved her world ranking to no. 63. A week later in Rome, she reached her third quarterfinals of the four tournaments she had participated in with a straight-sets victory against Samantha Stosur in the third round. She lost in the quarterfinals in straight sets to the world no. 2, defending and eventual champion Maria Sharapova. Her appearance in Rome increased her ranking to world no. 52 and putting her as the third-ranked American. She lost in the second round of the French Open to Agnieszka Radwańska in straight sets.
She next participated in the Wimbledon tournament, where for the first time since 1997 she was not seeded. She was drawn against Elena Vesnina in the first round, to whom Venus lost in straight sets. It was also the first time Venus lost in the first round of a Grand Slam Tournament since the 2006 Australian Open, as well as the first opening round loss at Wimbledon since her pro tennis debut appearance there in 1997. Williams fared much better in her return to doubles competition where she played alongside her sister, Serena. In just the pair's first tournament since 2010 Wimbledon, the unseeded sisters advanced to the final with notable victories against fourth-seeded Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova in the second round and top-seeded Liezel Huber and Lisa Raymond in the semifinals. The Williams sisters claimed their fifth Wimbledon doubles title after defeating sixth-seeded Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká in straight sets in the final, on the same day Serena won her fifth Wimbledon singles title.
Williams' next stop was the 2012 Summer Olympics Games which was held at the All England Club at Wimbledon. She entered the women's singles and women's doubles events, partnering with sister Serena in doubles. In singles, Williams defeated Sara Errani and Aleksandra Wozniak in convincing fashion to reach the third round where she faced Angelique Kerber. She lost to Kerber in two tiebreaks despite having three set points and leading 5–1 in the tiebreak in the first set. In doubles, the unseeded Williams sisters advanced to the final, which was a repeat of Wimbledon's final match against fourth-seeded Hlaváčková and Hradecká. The sisters won their third gold medal in doubles after defeating the Czech pair in straight sets. With the win (and Serena's win in the singles event), the Williams sisters now hold the most Olympic gold medals than any other tennis player, male or female.
Next, Williams participated in Cincinnati where she received a singles wild card entry. She defeated her first two opponents, 14th seeded Maria Kirilenko and Chanelle Scheepers, in three tight sets before crushing 8th seeded Errani in the third round. In the quarterfinals, she defeated her second top 10 opponent in a row Samantha Stosur in three sets which advanced her to her first semifinals appearance since the 2010 US Open. In the semifinals Williams played through a back injury, eventually losing in three sets to Li Na in a match where her average first serve was between 80–90 miles per hour. Her semifinals run would bring her ranking back to within the top 50 for the first time in almost a year. At the US Open Williams lost in a second-round match against Angelique Kerber in three sets, after she had a 4–2 lead in the third set.
Williams won her 44th career WTA title and her first in over two and half years at the 2012 BGL Luxembourg Open. She defeated Belinda Bencic, Mona Barthel, Roberta Vinci, and Andrea Petkovic to reach the final. There she defeated Monica Niculescu in straight sets. Williams also qualified for the WTA Tournament of Champions in Sofija <3, but withdrew as the tournament clashed with her and Serena's 'Breaking the Mould' tour in Africa. With her title in Luxembourg, her ranking rose to number 24. She ended the year with this ranking.
2013: Back injury
At the 2013 Hopman Cup, and playing for USA (with John Isner), the first rubber was against South Africa. Williams beat Chanelle Scheepers and, with John Isner, they comfortably defeated the South African pair Chanelle Scheepers and Kevin Anderson. In USA's second rubber against France, she won both her singles and in mixed doubles defeated Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Mathilde Johansson. Next she faced Anabel Medina Garrigues of Spain and won in two sets.
From there Williams went onto the Australian Open, seeded 25, after missing it the previous year due to injury. She beat Galina Voskoboeva and Alizé Cornet before losing to the second seed, Maria Sharapova. Her next tournament was Brasil Tennis Cup. She participated the tournament as the 1st seed. She defeated Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in the first round, Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round and Magdaléna Rybáriková during the quarterfinals. Reaching her first semifinal of the year, she was then defeated by Olga Puchkova in three sets. This tournament allowed Williams to strengthen her position in the Top 20. She retired from the 2013 Sony Open Tennis in the third round due to a lower back injury.
One week after Miami, Williams participated in Charleston as the fifth seed. She reached the semifinals, after playing both her third round and quarterfinals matches on the same day, where she lost to her sister, Serena, in two sets in the sisters' first meeting since the 2009 WTA Tour Championships.A few weeks later she participated in Fed Cup, in a tie between the United States and Sweden. After Sloane Stephens lost the opening match, Williams stepped into her spot, winning a match against Johanna Larsson, after converting on her eighth match point. This was the first time in Williams' career that she clinched the winning match in a Fed Cup tie, leading the United States to a 3–2 victory over Sweden. Williams' next event was the Mutua Madrid Open where she withdrew just before playing her first round match, her next tournament was the Italian Open in Rome where she lost in the first round to Laura Robson. Williams then played at the 2013 French Open where she lost to Urszula Radwanska in the first round. She was also entered in Doubles with her sister Serena but pulled out just before their 1st Round match, Venus pulled out of the 2013 Wimbledon Championships due to a back injury it was the first time she has missed Wimbledon in her career.
At the Roger's Cup, she lost in the first round to 13th seed Kirsten Flipkens in three sets. At the 2013 Western and Southern Open, she defeated qualifier Jana Cepelova in straight sets, before losing in the second round to Elena Vesnina in three sets. Her next tournament was the 2013 US Open. She pulled an upset in the first round by defeating 12th seed Kirsten Flipkens in a rematch of the Roger's Cup first round. She was defeated by Zheng Jie in three sets. She entered the doubles with Serena Williams. They beat Carla Suarez Navarro and Silvia Soler Espinosa in the first round. In the second round, the duo beat the 7th seeded team of Abigail Spears and Raquel Kops-Jones, and defeated the 11th seeded team of Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Lucie Safarova in the third round. In the quarterfinals, they defeated the 1st seeded team of Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci in a rematch of the Australian Open quarterfinals. Their run ended in the semifinals against the 5th seeded team and eventual champions Lucie Hradecka and Andrea Hlavackova. Her next tournament was the Toray Pan Pacific Open. She defeated Mona Barthel in the first round, and upset the 1st seeded and World Number 2 Victoria Azarenka in the second round. In the third round, she came back from a set down to beat the 13th seed Simona Halep in three sets to make it to the quarterfinals of the Premier 5 event. In the quarterfinals she defeated Canadian Eugenie Bouchard in three sets but fell in the semifinals to Petra Kvitova in another three set match. Williams subsequently played at the 2013 China Open in Beijing where she played Singles & Doubles, Venus lost her second round match in Singles losing to Sabine Lisicki and she also lost her first round match in Doubles despite having two match points. Williams' last tournament of the season was the 2013 Kremlin Cup in Moscow but she withdrew due to injury bringing an end to her 2013 season.
2014–present: Resurgence and return to the top 10
2014: Ending title drought
Venus started her official tennis season as the world no. 47 at the 2014 ASB Classic in Auckland where she made it to the final and finished runner-up to Ana Ivanovic. She next participated at the 2014 Australian Open where, as an unseeded player, she lost in the first round to world no. 23 Ekaterina Makarova in three sets. Williams lost to world no. 6 Petra Kvitová in the second round in Doha at the 2014 Qatar Total Open despite having match point in the third set tie-break. Williams then entered the Dubai Tennis Championships where she defeated five top forty players to win her biggest title since the Mutua Madrid Open in 2010 and, at 33 years and 8 months of age, becoming the seventh oldest woman to win a WTA singles title. En route, she avenged her loss to Ana Ivanovic in Auckland 6–2, 6–1 and her sister Serena’s loss to Alizé Cornet in the semi-finals, and for the title, with the score reading 6–3, 6–0 in the final. She also kept her head-to-head record perfect versus Caroline Wozniacki. Williams then competed in Miami at the 2014 Sony Open Tennis and in Charleston at the 2014 Family Circle Cup where she lost to Dominika Cibulková on hard and Eugenie Bouchard on clay, respectively – both in the round of 16 and both in three sets. Venus’s only loss of the year up until that point not having gone the distance of three sets occurred at her next tournament in Rome at the 2014 Internazionali BNL d'Italia where she lost 4–6, 2–6 to Carla Suárez Navarro. At the 2014 French Open, Venus was upset by world no. 56 Anna Karolína Schmiedlová in three sets. Venus then made it through to the third round of the Wimbledon Championships where she lost 7–5, 6–7, 5–7 to eventual champion Petra Kvitová in a classic and much praised encounter featuring 34 holds of serve to only 2 breaks. Williams was the only player to have won a set against Kvitová during the 2014 Wimbledon Championships.
Venus played her first tournament of the 2014 US Open Series at the 2014 Bank of the West Classic where she is a two-time former champion. In the second round she scored her first top 10 victory of the year and, in the process, improved her head-to-head record against Victoria Azarenka to 4–0. Williams lost to world no. 18 Andrea Petkovic in three sets in the quarterfinals. At the 2014 Rogers Cup, Venus defeated world no. 24 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in three sets – scoring her first ever victory at that tournament (on her fifth attempt). She defeated world no. 7 Angelique Kerber in the third round in a three-set thriller described by one of the commentators as "quite simply one of the matches of the 2014 season so far on the WTA". Williams produced yet another upset by winning in three against Carla Suárez Navarro to advance to the semi-finals, where she defeated younger sister and world no. 1, Serena Williams, in the pair's 25th meeting. It was her 14th victory over a reigning world no. 1 and her first since the 2009 Wimbledon Championships when she defeated Dinara Safina 6–1, 6–0 in the semi-finals. It was also the first time since 2009 that Venus had beaten Serena. She lost the championship match 4–6, 2–6 to world no. 5 Agnieszka Radwańska. At her final tournament before the 2014 US Open, Williams lost in a tight three-setter to world no. 17 Lucie Šafářová in the first round at the 2014 Western & Southern Open. At the US Open Venus made it to the third round for the first time since 2010 and was two points away (multiple times) from moving into the Round of 16 before ultimately going down to 13th seeded Sara Errani for the first time in four meetings.
Venus' next tournament was at the 2014 Coupe Banque Nationale in Quebec, where she received a wildcard as the no. 1 seed. She advanced to the quarter-finals in straight set first and second round victories and is set to play Czech player, Lucie Hradecká. She defeated Hradecká in a lengthy 2 hour and 13 minute match, winning 6–3, 4–6, 7–6(3). Williams then played fellow countrywomen, Shelby Rogers in the semi-final and won in straight sets to progress to her fourth final of the year. Unfortunately, she lost to a resurgent Mirjana Lučić-Baroni in straight sets. Williams then played at the 2014 Wuhan Open, where she lost in the first round to Caroline Garcia despite having held a match point. Her final tournament of the year was at the 2014 China Open where she won her first two matches before withdrawing prior to the third round. Venus finished the year ranked world no. 19 in singles – the first time since 2010 that she's finished inside the top 20. Williams joined Bangalore Raptors team in 2014 for the first edition of Champions Tennis League India.
2015: Improvement at the Grand Slams & re-entering the top 10
Venus started off her season at the 2015 ASB Classic where she won her 46th career singles title by defeating Caroline Wozniacki in three sets in the final. Then, at the Australian Open, Venus made it to the quarterfinals at a Grand Slam for the first time since the 2010 US Open. She defeated Camila Giorgi in the third round having to recover from 4–6, 2–4 and 0–40 down to reach the second week of a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since the 2011 Wimbledon Championships and then overturned a three-match losing streak to Agnieszka Radwańska before losing to Madison Keys after being up a break in the deciding set. Venus had her 16-match winning streak at the Dubai Tennis Championships ended by Lucie Šafářová in the third round. Her next tournament was at the Qatar Total Open where she saved a match point in a heated encounter versus Barbora Záhlavová-Strýcová in the second round before defeating Agnieszka Radwańska for a second time in 2015 to advance to the semifinals. She ended up losing in three sets to Victoria Azarenka. Venus competed at the Miami Open, where she won against Samantha Stosur in the third round and Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round (scoring her fourth top-10 win of the season and improving her head-to-head record against Wozniacki to a perfect 7–0). In the quarterfinals, she was defeated by Carla Suárez Navarro in three sets.
Williams began her clay court season at the Madrid Open where she lost in the first round to Victoria Azarenka in straight sets. She made it to the third round of the Italian Open before losing to Simona Halep. Williams failed to win her opening match at the 2015 French Open, where she lost in straight sets to American Sloane Stephens. She did not attend her mandatory post-match press conference and was subsequently fined $3000. Williams then played at Wimbledon, winning her first three rounds in straight sets. She then lost to her sister, Serena, in the fourth round in straight sets (4–6 3–6). Williams then played at the Istanbul Cup where she lost in the first round to qualifier Kateryna Bondarenko.
Venus began her US Open series at the Rogers Cup where she was a finalist last year. She lost in the first round, 6–0, 6–3 to Sabine Lisicki. Her loss pushed her outside of the top 20. Her next tournament was at the Western and Southern Open in Cincinnati. She made it to the second round and was set to play Ana Ivanovic, before she withdrew due to a virus. She was seeded 23rd for the US Open and played Monica Puig in the first round. She led 6–4, 5–3 and held three match points, but lost the second set. She managed to win the match 6–4, 6–7(7–9), 6–3. In the second round, she overcame 2 costly double faults in the second set to defeat fellow American Irina Falconi 6–3, 6–7(2–7), 6–2. She defeated 12th seed Belinda Bencic and qualifier Anett Kontaveit in straight sets in the third and fourth rounds, respectively. Venus played her sister, Serena, in the quarterfinals in their 5th meeting at the US Open and their 27th meeting overall. Venus lost the match in three sets (2–6 6–1 3–6).
Williams scored her fifth top 10 win of the season by defeating world no. 7 Agnieszka Radwańska in the first round of the Wuhan Open. She then beat qualifier Julia Görges in the second round for her 700th career win (becoming only the ninth woman in the Open Era to achieve this feat). She landed another top 10 victory by winning against world no. 10 Carla Suárez Navarro in the third round. Williams defeated both Johanna Konta and Roberta Vinci (saving match point) in three sets to move into the championship match where she won her biggest title in more than 5 years when her opponent, world no. 8 Garbiñe Muguruza, retired while trailing a set and a double break. The next week Williams lost to Ana Ivanovic in the second round of the China Open. She made it to the semifinals of the Hong Kong Open where she lost in a tight two-setter to eventual champion Jelena Janković.
With her results throughout the season, Williams became an Alternate for the WTA Finals in Singapore. Additionally, she qualified for the WTA Elite Trophy in Zhuhai where she is the number one seed. She defeated Madison Keys in her first round-robin match in three sets, 3–6, 7–6(7-5), 6–1. In her second round-robin match she defeated wildcard Zheng Saisai 4–6, 6–1, 6–1 to advance to the semi-finals, where she defeated Roberta Vinci for a fifth consecutive time. Williams captured the first WTA Elite Trophy, her third WTA title of the season and 48th title of her career by defeating Karolina Pliskova, 7–5, 7–6(8–6) in the final. She re-entered the top ten for the first time since 2011 and ended the year at world number seven in the WTA rankings. Williams was the 10th most popular player of the year according to the WTA's website and received the WTA Comeback Player of the Year award.
2016: 49th career title, Wimbledon semifinals and French Open 4th round, highest ranking since 2011
Venus began 2016 by playing at the World Tennis Thailand Championship – an exhibition event in Thailand – where she lost to Sara Errani and Angelique Kerber. She lost in the first round of the ASB Classic to 18-year-old Daria Kasatkina, where she was the number 1 seed and defending champion. This was also her first tournament since the 2011 Australian Open as a top 10 player. Williams, seeded 8th, lost to Johanna Konta in the first round of the Australian Open. Afterwards, Venus helped the USA Fed Cup Team to a 4-0 victory over Poland, posting wins in both of her singles matches. Williams' next tournament was at the Taiwan Open, where she was the number 1 seed. She defeated Misaki Doi in the final, earning her 49th career title.
Venus returned to Indian Wells for the first time in fifteen years after boycotting the tournament in 2001, but lost in the second round to Kurumi Nara. The following week she was knocked out in the second round of the Miami Open by qualifier Elena Vesnina. Both results marked her worst exits at Indian Wells and Miami in her 23-year-long career. She began the clay court season with a win over Alison Riske at the Charleston Open, before losing to Yulia Putintseva in the third round in three tight sets. Williams was scheduled to begin her clay-court season at the Madrid Open but withdrew due to a hamstring injury. She lost in the second round in Rome the following week. Seeded 9th at the French Open, Williams won her first two rounds in straight sets to set up a third round clash with Alize Cornet, who she defeated in three sets to progress to the fourth round for the first time since 2010. She scored her 200th loss of her career against 8th seed, Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets. However, her result pushed her back into the top 10 since her loss at the Australian Open. She also won her first Grand Slam doubles match with sister Serena since the 2014 US Open.
At the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, Venus equaled the record for the most Grand Slam appearances by tying fellow American Amy Frazier on 71 total appearances. She progressed to the third round of the championships where she overcame 29th seed, Daria Kasatkina, in a lengthy 2 hour and 42 minute marathon. She defeated 12th seed Carla Suarez Navarro in the fourth round, now leading 4–3 in their head-to-head meetings. Venus advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time in 6 years, where she defeated Yaroslava Shvedova. In her first Grand Slam semifinal since the 2010 US Open and her first Wimbledon semifinal since 2009, she lost against 4th seed Angelique Kerber in straight sets. In the doubles tournament, Venus and Serena advanced to their first Grand Slam Doubles final since 2012. They then won their 14th major title together and sixth at Wimbledon.
Venus began her US Open series at the Stanford Classic where she was the number one seed. She defeated Magda Linette in the second round and compatriots Catherine Bellis and Alison Riske in the quarterfinals and semifinals respectively to reach her eighth final in Stanford. She lost to Johanna Konta in three sets, 5–7, 7–5, 2–6, however, by virtue of her result, Venus ascended to number 6 in the rankings, her highest position since being diagnosed with Sjögren's syndrome. Then Venus partook in the Rogers Cup. Having received a bye in the first round, Venus won her second round match against Barbora Strycova with an impressive 6-3 6-0. She fell to Madison Keys in the third round in three sets.
Fight for equal prize money
Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, in 2005 the French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay women's and men's players equally through all rounds. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both tournaments, arguing that female tennis players should be paid as much as male tennis players. Although WTA tour President Larry Scott commented that she left "a very meaningful impression", Williams' demands were rejected.
The turning point was an essay published in The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006. In it, Williams accused Wimbledon of being on the "wrong side of history", writing:
I feel so strongly that Wimbledon's stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.
I believe that athletes – especially female athletes in the world's leading sport for women – should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message....
Wimbledon has argued that women's tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.
This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments....
Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men's and women's games have the same value.
Third, ... we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men's....
Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women – who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers – earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women's doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men's doubles prize money?
I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean's original dream of equality is made real. It's a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.
In response, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of Parliament publicly endorsed Williams' arguments. Later that year, the Women's Tennis Association and UNESCO teamed for a campaign to promote gender equality in sports, asking Williams to lead the campaign. Under enormous pressure, Wimbledon announced in February 2007 that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds, and the French Open followed suit a day later. In the aftermath, the Chicago Sun-Times cited Williams as "the single factor" that "changed the minds of the boys" and a leader whose "willingness to take a public stand separates her not only from most of her female peers, but also from our most celebrated male athletes." Williams herself commented, "Somewhere in the world a little girl is dreaming of holding a giant trophy in her hands and being viewed as an equal to boys who have similar dreams."
Venus herself became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer. Venus's fight for equality was documented in Nine for IX, Venus Vs. It premiered on July 2, 2013.
Other on court activities
1998: Karsten Braasch vs. the Williams sisters
Venus competed in a "Battle of the Sexes", along with her sister Serena Williams, against Karsten Braasch at the 1998 Australian Open, who at the time was ranked 203rd. A decade and a half younger than Braasch, who was described by one journalist as "a man whose training regime centered around a pack of cigarettes and more than a couple bottles of ice cold lager." He nonetheless defeated both sisters, playing a single set against each, beating Serena 6–1 and Venus 6–2. Braasch said afterwards, "500 and above, no chance." He added that he had played like someone ranked 600th in order to keep the game "fun."
Beginning the 2011 fall semester, Williams began pursuing a bachelor's degree in the school of business through an online degree program at Indiana University East in Richmond, Indiana. Her ultimate goal is to get an MBA in the near future.
Williams' longtime boyfriend, pro golfer Hank Kuehne, was a visible presence from the time of Wimbledon 2007 until 2010, when Kuehne dated and (in May 2011) married his current wife, Andy. Williams is now dating Cuban model Elio Pis whom she met when he modeled for her EleVen fashion line.
In 2003, at age 31, Yetunde Price, Venus and Serena Williams' older sister was shot dead in Compton, California, near the courts on which the sisters once practiced. Price was the Williams sisters' personal assistant. The Williams family issued this statement shortly after the death: "We are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by the shooting death of our beloved Yetunde. She was our nucleus and our rock. She was a personal assistant, confidante, and adviser to her sisters, and her death leaves a void that can never be filled. Our grief is overwhelming, and this is the saddest day of our lives."
Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm V Starr Interiors located in Jupiter, Florida. Her company designed the set of the Tavis Smiley Show on the Public Broadcasting Service, the Olympic athletes' apartments as part of New York City's failed bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.
In 2007, Williams teamed with retailer Steve & Barry's to launch her own fashion line, EleVen. "I love fashion and the idea that I am using my design education to actually create clothing and footwear that I will wear on and off the tennis court is a dream come true for me. The vision has been to create a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time. I'm thrilled with everything we've created to launch EleVen."
In August 2009, Williams and her sister Serena became part-owners of the Miami Dolphins. The announcement was made during a press conference overlooking the practice field. This made the sisters the first African-American females to obtain ownership in an NFL franchise. Stephan Ross, the majority owner of the Dolphins, said "We are thrilled to have Venus and Serena join the Dolphins as limited partners. They are among the most admired athletes in the world and have become global ambassadors for the game of tennis. Their addition to our ownership group further reflects our commitment to connect with aggressively and embrace the great diversity that makes South Florida a multicultural gem."
In late June 2010, Williams released her first book, Come to Win; on How Sports Can Help You Top Your Profession, which she co-wrote with Kelly E. Carter. In promotion of the book she embarked on a tour around America in support of the release, whilst also appearing on several talk shows, including The Early Show and Good Morning America. This gave her a place in the Top 5 of The New York Times Best Seller List.
- Coach: David Witt, Richard Williams, Oracene Price
- Racket: Wilson Blade 104
- Clothing: EleVen
- Shoes: Nike
Grand Slam performance timeline
|Australian Open||A||QF||QF||A||SF||QF||F||3R||4R||1R||A||QF||2R||QF||3R||A||3R||1R||QF||1R||0 / 16||45–16|
|French Open||2R||QF||4R||QF||1R||F||4R||QF||3R||QF||3R||3R||3R||4R||A||2R||1R||2R||1R||4R||0 / 19||45–19|
|Wimbledon||1R||QF||QF||W||W||F||F||2R||W||3R||W||W||F||QF||4R||1R||A||3R||4R||SF||5 / 19||81–14|
|US Open||F||SF||SF||W||W||F||A||4R||QF||A||SF||QF||4R||SF||2R||2R||2R||3R||QF||2 / 17||68–15|
|Win–Loss||7–3||17–4||15–4||18–1||19–2||22–4||15–3||10–4||16–3||6–3||14–2||17–3||12–4||16–4||6–2||2–3||3–3||5–4||11–4||8–3||7 / 71||239–64|
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 14 (7 titles, 7 runners-up)
|Runner-up||1997||US Open||Hard||Martina Hingis||0–6, 4–6|
|Winner||2000||Wimbledon||Grass||Lindsay Davenport||6–3, 7–6(7–3)|
|Winner||2000||US Open||Hard||Lindsay Davenport||6–4, 7–5|
|Winner||2001||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Justine Henin||6–1, 3–6, 6–0|
|Winner||2001||US Open (2)||Hard||Serena Williams||6–2, 6–4|
|Runner-up||2002||French Open||Clay||Serena Williams||5–7, 3–6|
|Runner-up||2002||Wimbledon||Grass||Serena Williams||6–7(4–7), 3–6|
|Runner-up||2002||US Open (2)||Hard||Serena Williams||4–6, 3–6|
|Runner-up||2003||Australian Open||Hard||Serena Williams||6–7(4–7), 6–3, 4–6|
|Runner-up||2003||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Serena Williams||6–4, 4–6, 2–6|
|Winner||2005||Wimbledon (3)||Grass||Lindsay Davenport||4–6, 7–6(7–4), 9–7|
|Winner||2007||Wimbledon (4)||Grass||Marion Bartoli||6–4, 6–1|
|Winner||2008||Wimbledon (5)||Grass||Serena Williams||7–5, 6–4|
|Runner-up||2009||Wimbledon (3)||Grass||Serena Williams||6–7(3–7), 2–6|
Women's doubles: 14 (14 titles)
|Winner||1999||French Open||Serena Williams|| Martina Hingis|
|6–3, 6–7(2–7), 8–6|
|Winner||1999||US Open||Serena Williams|| Chanda Rubin|
|4–6, 6–1, 6–4|
|Winner||2000||Wimbledon||Serena Williams|| Julie Halard-Decugis|
|Winner||2001||Australian Open||Serena Williams|| Lindsay Davenport|
|6–2, 2–6, 6–4|
|Winner||2002||Wimbledon (2)||Serena Williams|| Virginia Ruano Pascual|
|Winner||2003||Australian Open (2)||Serena Williams|| Virginia Ruano Pascual|
|4–6, 6–4, 6–3|
|Winner||2008||Wimbledon (3)||Serena Williams|| Lisa Raymond|
|Winner||2009||Australian Open (3)||Serena Williams|| Daniela Hantuchová|
|Winner||2009||Wimbledon (4)||Serena Williams|| Samantha Stosur|
|Winner||2009||US Open (2)||Serena Williams|| Cara Black|
|Winner||2010||Australian Open (4)||Serena Williams|| Cara Black|
|Winner||2010||French Open (2)||Serena Williams|| Květa Peschke|
|Winner||2012||Wimbledon (5)||Serena Williams|| Andrea Hlaváčková|
|Winner||2016||Wimbledon (6)||Serena Williams|| Timea Babos|
Mixed doubles: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)
|Winner||1998||Australian Open||Hard||Justin Gimelstob|| Helena Suková|
|Winner||1998||French Open||Clay||Justin Gimelstob|| Serena Williams|
|Runner-up||2006||Wimbledon||Grass||Bob Bryan|| Vera Zvonareva|
Records and achievements
- These records were attained in Open Era of tennis.
- Records in bold indicate peer-less achievements.
- Records in italics are currently active streaks.
|Championship||Years||Record accomplished||Player tied|
|1999 French Open – 2016 Wimbledon||1999–2016||First 14 Grand Slam doubles finals won (with Serena Williams)||Stands alone|
|2002 French Open – 2003 Australian Open||2002–2003||Four consecutive runner-up finishes||Chris Evert|
|2002 French Open – 2003 Australian Open||2002–2003||Four consecutive runner-up finishes to the same player (Serena Williams)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2005||Longest women's singles final||Lindsay Davenport|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-ranked champion (31st)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2007||Lowest-seeded champion (23rd)||Stands alone|
|Wimbledon||2008||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|US Open||2007||Fastest serve by a woman (129 mph)||Stands alone|
|Summer Olympics||2000–2012||4 Gold Medals||Serena Williams|
|Summer Olympics||2000–2012||3 Doubles Gold Medals (with Serena Williams)||Stands alone|
|Miami Open||1998–2002||22 consecutive singles matches won at this tournament||Steffi Graf|
|Dubai Tennis Championships||2009–2015||16 consecutive singles matches won at this tournament||Stands alone|
|Dubai Tennis Championships||2010–2014||2 consecutive singles titles without dropping a set||Justine Henin|
|Dubai Tennis Championships||2014||Only unseeded player to have won in singles and as a wildcard||Stands alone|
|Connecticut Open||1999–2002||4 consecutive singles titles||Caroline Wozniacki|
|Connecticut Open||1999–2000||2 consecutive singles titles without dropping a set||Stands alone|
|U.S. National Indoor Tennis Championships||1998–2007||Most singles titles won at this tournament (3)||Stands alone|
|Southern California Open||1999–2002||4 consecutive singles finals||Tracy Austin|
|Mexican Open||2009–2010||2 consecutive singles titles||Stands alone|
- In 1997, Williams became the first woman since Pam Shriver in 1978 to reach the singles final of the US Open on her first attempt.
- In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded singles finalist at the US Open.
- In 1997, the combined ages of Williams at age 17 and Martina Hingis at age 16 in the US Open final were the lowest in the open era history of that tournament.
- At 1999 IGA SuperThrift Classic in Oklahoma City marking the first time in tennis history that sisters won titles in the same week (Serena won the Open Gaz de France in Paris).
- At the 1999 Lipton International Players Championships in Key Biscayne became the first pair of sisters in the open era to meet in a tournament final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2000, Williams became the second African-American to win Wimbledon during the open era.
- At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924. Serena Williams has since joined these 2 women in completing this feat when she won gold in the Singles and Doubles at 2012 London Olympics.
- By winning the 2001 Australian Open doubles championship, Venus and Serena Williams became the fifth pair to complete a Career Doubles Grand Slam and the only pair to win a Career Doubles Golden Slam.
- The 2001 US Open marked the first time in the open era, and only the second time in 117 years, that sisters met in a Grand Slam singles final (with Serena Williams).
- In 2001, she became the third woman in the open era, after Navratilova and Graf, to win both Wimbledon and the US Open in consecutive years.
- In February 2002, she became the first African-American woman to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in 1975.
- In 2002 became the first ever siblings to rank Top 2 at same time with sister Serena.
- At Wimbledon in 2003, she reached her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, which since the abolishment of the challenge round system is tied with Helen Wills Moody for fourth behind Navratilova's nine, King's five, and Evert's five.
- Williams, Hingis and Goolagong hold the open era record for consecutive losses in Grand Slam singles final appearances (five).
- One of four women, the others being Serena Williams, Navratilova and Graf, to win the Wimbledon singles title at least five times during the open era.
- During the 2008 WTA Tour Championships became the 3rd player after Steffi Graf and Serena Williams to beat the second Dinara Safina, third Serena Williams and first Jelena Jankovic ranked players in the same tournament.
- At Wimbledon in 2009, Williams defeated World No. 1 Dinara Safina in the semifinals 6–1, 6–0, which was the most one-sided women's semifinal at Wimbledon since 1969, when King defeated Rosemary Casals by the same score.
- Williams held the record for the fastest serve in women's tennis at 207.9 km/h (129.2 mph), achieved at the 2007 US Open. She held this record for almost 7 years, until her record was broken by Sabine Lisicki at the 2014 Stanford Classic with a service speed of 210.8 km/h (131.0 mph).
- By reaching the semifinals of the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, Venus became the oldest women (at 36 years) to progress to a Grand Slam semifinal since Martina Navratilova in 1994 at Wimbledon. Williams also became just the third player over 36 years to reach a Grand Slam semifinal after Navratilova and Billie-Jean King.
- WTA Tour records
- Grand Slam (tennis)
- List of WTA number 1 ranked players
- List of female tennis players
- List of tennis tournaments
- List of tennis rivalries
- Tennis records of the Open Era - Women's Singles
- Overall tennis records - Womens's Singles
- Graf–Navratilova rivalry
- Graf–Sabatini rivalry
- Graf–Seles rivalry
- Hingis – V. Williams rivalry
- Williams sisters rivalry
- List of Grand Slam women's singles champions
- List of Grand Slam women's doubles champions
- List of Grand Slam mixed doubles champions