There is no question that Serena Williams is the most accomplished woman in the sport of professional tennis today. In fact, a strong argument can be made, that she is best female competitor ever to play the sport. The native of Saginaw, Michigan has also become one of the most popular and recognized athlete’s on the planet.
When it comes to tennis, it really doesn’t get any bigger than Serena Williams.
The 5-foot-9 star has fame, fortune, and career that any tennis player would aspire to. One would might reasonably assume that someone as talented as Serena Williams found success in life with relative ease.
However, at almost 36 years of age, Williams can look back at a life and career that definitely had its share of ups and downs. The tennis star, like most people, has face her fair shar of adversity over the years.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the most difficult moments that Serena Williams has struggled with. Moreover, fans will get a chance to relieve some of her greatest accomplishments on the tennis court and beyond.
With that in mind, it’s time to take a look at 8 pictures Serena Williams wants you to see and 7 she probably wishes didn’t exist.
15 Does: Award Winner
Serena Willims is no stranger to receiving honors and awards. In fact, the Grand Slam champ was named Laureus Sportswoman of the Year on three separate occasions in 2003, 2010, and 2016 respectively.
She was also named Sports Illustrated's Sportsperson of the Year back in December of 2015. The photo above shows Williams in a flattering one-piece as she poses for the magazine cover. The previous Sportsperson of the Year winners include athletes like Lebron James, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady, so she's in pretty good company. Williams became the first individual female athlete to win the award since speed skater Bonnie Blair won it back in 1994. Though to be fair, Pat Summitt won the award as a coach in 2011 and the U.S. women’s soccer team won it collectively in 1999. Being on the cover of Sports Illustrated is a feather in anyone ‘s cap.
14 Doesn’t: Unsportsmanlike Conduct At 2009 US Open
One of the most controversial moments involving Serena Williams came at the 2009 US Open, in a match with Belgium star Kim Clijsters. It began when Williams slammed her racquet on the ground after dropping the first set. As result of her actions, she was given a warning from the official. Later in the game, the official called a foot foul, resulting in two match points for the Belgian player. Williams, who was angered by the call, allegedly hurled insults at the official. The television mics even caught Williams saying to the official, "I didn't say I would kill you! Are you serious?" Williams' comments toward the judge combined with her racquet abuse, resulted in a point deduction for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Williams received a hefty fine of $175,000 and was placed on probation at all Grand Slam events for the next two years.
13 Does: Swimsuit Modeling
Serena Williams has posed for the prestigious Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue on multiple occasions, the most recent being 2017. Williams is in good company as some of the most beautiful tennis players in the world have also posed for the publication. Caroline Wozniacki, Eugene “Genie” Bouchard, and Maria Sharapova are just a few of the names that have been featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
Believe it or not, Williams claimed an interview with Sports Illustrated that this (posing in 2017) was her first time wearing a thong bathing suit. Williams has a bigger and more muscular physique, compared to most female tennis players. However, as the photo clearly indicates, she looks amazing in a swimsuit. Being a part of this shoot was clearly a proud moment for Williams.
12 Doesn't: Unflattering Candid Shot
One of the drawbacks to being an international tennis star is constantly being hounded by the media. When an athlete reaches a certain level of stardom, they can expect their privacy to become a thing of the past. Unfortunately, for Serena Williams, she has indeed reached that level.
As we can see in the photo here, Williams appears to be visiting the beach on her own time. However, the press looks to have caught up with her and has snapped this somewhat unflattering photo. It’s fair to assume that Serena Williams didn’t want to be photographed while picking a wedgie, which is exactly what happened in this particular instance. While it’s something all people must do at one point or another, unlike poor Serena, most of us have the luxury of doing it in private.
11 Does: Friendship With Caroline Wozniacki
Despite being rivals on the court, Serena Williams and Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki are very close friends, when the two aren’t competing against one and other. Williams enjoys a comfortable 10-1 record against her pal in singles competition, making it bit of a one-sided “rivalry.” Records aside, these two ladies seem to love spending time together away from the court.
When Williams was injured back in 2011, Wozniacki arrived at the hospital to visit her friend. Williams returned the favor by showing up and supporting the Danish blonde when she ran the New York City Marathon. Moreover, when both women were eliminated early at the 2014 French Open, the pair decided to vacation together in Miami. Williams is no doubt glad to show fans that players can be friends, even when competing with each other at a high level.
10 Doesn't: Caroline Controversy
Caroline Wozniacki has a reputation in tennis circles as being a bit of a practical joker. In a 2012 exhibition match, the blonde tennis starlet decided to pad her bra and skirt, to poke fun at her friend Serena Williams’s ample curves. The joke backfired on Wozniacki, with some folks claiming the jest was in poor taste or, in some cases, even racist.
Williams was forced to come to her friend's defense. In an e-mail to USA Today, Williams stated that, "I don’t think she (meant) anything racist by it." She went on to point out that male players like Andy Roddick had pulled similar stunts in the past without receiving the same level of criticism. Whatever the case was, having to defend her good friend against allegations of racism couldn’t have been fun.
9 Does: Winning 23 Grand Slam Singles Titles
Having won 23 Grand Slam titles as a singles competitor is (arguably) Serena Williams’s biggest accomplishment. Her 23 championships is the record for most wins by any female player in the Open Era. In fact, only Margaret Court, an Australian player who rose to prominence in the 1960s and '70s, has won more titles with 24 Grand Slam victories.
The Michigan native also has the distinction of being the only woman to win 10 Grand Slam titles in two separate decades. She has won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon on seven separate occasions. Williams has won the US Open six times and also has three French Open titles to her credit. Winning these titles on a regular basis is something she wants fans to see now, as well as in the future.
8 Doesn’t: John McEnroe Controversy
Serena Williams has been so successful in women’s tennis that some fans, and even commentators, have wondered how she would fare in the men’s division. Tennis Legend John McEnroe made headlines back in June when he told NPR that Serena Williams would be ranked 700 if she competed against her male counterparts. This raised the ire of many who follow the sport, as well as Williams herself. In fact, Serena Williams even took to Twitter and asked McEnroe to respect her privacy, while she is taking time off to have her first child.
McEnroe later admitted on an ESPN conference call, "It would have been better not to have said it.” It’s very likely Williams is thrilled that situation has now blown over and she can focus on family.
7 Does: Most Prize Money
When it comes to winning prize money on a tennis court, nobody does it better than Serena Williams. In fact, no one even comes close. Over the course of her Hall of Fame-worthy career, Williams has won an eye-popping $84, 463,131; even after taxes that’s not too shabby. Moreover, that’s just money she’s won competing, it doesn’t even take into account any cash she's received from her many endorsement deals.
Winning over $84 million is clearly impressive and is by far the most a female player has ever won. To put it in perspective, her sister Venus Williams is 2nd on the all-time rankings regarding money, with approximately $38 million in winnings. Russia’s Maria Sharapova currently sits at 3rd having won around $36.5 million. Williams doesn’t seem like the type to brag, but one still can’t help but be impressed.
6 Doesn’t: Sharapova Making More Money
In 2016, Serena Williams finally topped Maria Sharapova as the highest paid female tennis player. Given that Williams has dominated women’s tennis for well over a decade, one might reasonably assume that she has been the highest-paid player for years. However, USA Today reported in 2015 that Sharapova had earned $10 million more than Williams in endorsement money, and thus more money overall.
Williams has won several more Grand Slam titles than her Russian counterpart. Moreover, the American has defeated Sharapova 19 times in 21 head-to-head singles contests. In fact, the last time Williams lost a singles match to her rival was back in 2004. The song “Black America Again,” by rapper Common, refers to the pay discrepancy, "Is it a felony or a misdemeanor...Maria Sharapova making more than Serena?”
5 Does: Television Appearances
It’s clear that Serena Williams is a star that transcends the sport of tennis; a fact that is emphasized by her many appearances on mainstream television programs. The photo pictured above shows Serena Williams on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. However, the tennis star has also appeared on numerous other shows over the years.
She has appeared on programs such as MTV’s Punk’d, The Bernie Mack Show, and even the hospital drama series, ER. Moreover, the Grand Slam champ also appeared as a cartoon version of herself on The Simpsons in 2001. Williams is a friend of popular singer Beyonce and even made a brief appearance in the video for the song "Sorry". In truth, Serena Williams has a television resume that many career actors would likely envy.
4 Doesn’t: Match Fixing Allegations
As both Serena and Venus Williams blossomed into top 10 competitors, they began to face each other more frequently. For whatever reason, rumors began to surface that some of the matches between the two sisters were fixed, meaning the outcome was predetermined. According to the rumors, their father Richard Williams determined who would win their contests.
John McEnroe made a comment regarding the 2000 Wimbledon match between the two sisters, eluding to the fact that their father may have been involved in determining the outcome. Moreover, following a loss to Venus Williams back in 2001, Russian player Elena Dementieva was asked about an upcoming match between the two sisters by ASAP Sports, to which she replied, “I don't know what Richard thinks about it. I think he will decide who's going to win tomorrow.” Williams is likely grateful that rumors went away over time.
3 Does: Owning Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins are one of the most storied franchises in the National Football League. In the early days, they were coached by Don Shula who ended up being the winningest coach in NFL history. Moreover, the 1972 Dolphins are the last team to complete a perfect season by winning Super Bowl XVII. The team has also produce quarterbacks like Dan Marino, who is considered one of the best to ever play the position.
Based on their accomplishments, It’s easy to see why Serena Williams would want to become a part of this historic franchise. Serena and her sister Venus purchased a small stake in the team back in August of 2009. The two women made history by becoming the first African-American females to own a portion of an NFL franchise.
2 Doesn’t : Losing To Roberta Vinci
Serena Williams has had some tough losses over the course of her professional tennis career. However, her loss to Roberta Vinci in the semifinals of the 2015 US Open, may be the worst of her career thus far. Serena Williams was a 30/1 favorite heading into the match. For Serena Willams, this was her 47th Grand Slam semifinal and only the 1st for the Italian-born Vinci. Prior to competing in the US Open, Vinci had a 7-9 record in her last 16 singles matches. In a nutshell, Vinci was a journeywoman tennis player who no one thought stood a chance against Williams. However, the impossible happened, and Vinci upset one the greatest female players of all time.
Vinci would go on to lose to fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta in the finals of the US Open that year, making the loss seem even worse for Serena Williams.
1 Does: Welcoming A New Addition
Serena Williams has had been romantically linked to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. On December 29, 2016, the couple officially announced they were engaged. In April of 2017, Williams posted a picture of her belly on Snapchat, along with a caption that simply stated “20 weeks.” Obviously, this leads to speculation that the tennis star was expecting, which was later confirmed by her spokesperson. Interestingly enough, If she had in fact been with child for 20 weeks, that would mean she competed in the 2016 Australian Open while pregnant. The pregnancy is the reason Williams has been absent from the play in 2017.
On September 1st, it was announced that the Grand Slam winner had given birth to a baby girl, thus making her a proud first-time parent.