We just can’t seem to escape Serena Williams these days and we’re definitely not complaining. From announcing her pregnancy on Snapchat to news breaking that she won the Australian Open while pregnant to penning a sweet letter to her unborn child, you’d almost forget that Beyonce is expecting this year, too. One of the greatest tennis players of our time, Williams currently holds the world ranking for number one. During her entire career, she’s broken records, made history and shattered every glass ceiling. Let’s see how she became who she is today.
Serena Williams’ Net Worth as of 2017: $150 million
Williams first started playing tennis at age three, along with older sister Venus. The pair had already begun playing in national junior tennis tournaments by the time they were 10.
1995 – 1998
Williams’ professional debut was when she was 14 at the Bell Challenge. Though she lost in the first round, it was her first taste of becoming a professional player. In 1997, ranked at No. 304, she beat two top 10 players, becoming the lowest-ranked player to defeat two top ten players in a single tournament. In 1998, she made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open. She diversified her matches and consequently won the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi while also winning several doubles titles with her sister.
1999 – 2001
Williams won her first professional singles title when she won the Open Gaz de France. In 1999, she became the second African-American woman in history to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. Throughout her match history the next few years, Williams ended both 2000 and 2001 with a ranking of number six.
2002 – 2007
During the next few years, Williams went on to win the Miami Masters, French Open, Italian Open, French Open and Wimbledon, several at which Venus was her opponent. With her 2002 Wimbledon win, Williams earned the number one ranking for the first time, becoming the third African-American woman to hold the ranking. In 2004, Williams signed a deal with Nike to earn $40 million.
During the next several years, Williams faced a few setbacks like injuries, depression and decreased rankings. Amidst negative media speculation, she went on to win the Australian Open, Sony Ericsson Open and Wimbledon.
2008 – 2010
During the next two years, Williams played a mix of doubles and singles and returned to number one for the first time in several years. In 2009, she broke the record for the most prize money earned by a female tennis player in a year, with earnings of $6.5 million. Soon after, Williams was named Female Athlete of the Year. During the same years, Williams also started her own collection of daily wear clothing line called Signature Statement, which is mainly sold through the Home Shopping Network. Williams also became the first female pro athlete to star in a female hygiene product campaign when she worked with Tampax.
2011 – 2013
Williams won Wimbledon 2012 and set the record for having the most aces in a match, male or female, in the tournament. Williams then represented the United States and won gold when she beat Maria Sharapova. Her streak continued when she won the US Open and was named International Tennis Federation World Champion. Following these performances, she soon returned to the top ranking and became the oldest female in the Open Era to hold the ranking.
Then, by winning the WTA Championships, Williams became the first female to win more than $10 million in a single season with a total of $12 million, leaving her not far behind male pro players Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. At the 2013 ESPY awards, she earned the titles of Best Female Athlete and Best Female Tennis Player.
2014 – Present
My Dearest Baby, You gave me the strength I didn’t know I had. You taught me the true meaning of serenity and peace. I can't wait to meet you. I can't wait for you to join the players box next year. But most importantly, I am so happy to share being number one in the world with you…. once again today. On @alexisohanian bday. 😉 from the world's oldest number one to the world's youngest number one. -Your Mommy
Williams won the 2015 Australian Open and in the same year became the first female black athlete to cover Vogue. She soon earned the title of the “Serena Slam,” to depict her winning four major tournaments in a row. She’s the only player in history to win all four majors once before the age of 30.
In late 2016, Williams announced her engagement to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. In 2017, Williams started her season by playing in the WTA Auckland Open for the first time. Soon after, she won the Australian Open for a seventh time, while also reportedly eight weeks pregnant.
Williams has broken boundaries countless times throughout her career and with her success streaks, she’ll no doubt be a great mother and wife.