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Serena Williams

Serena Jameka Williams is a professional tennis player, ranked No. 1 in women’s singles tennis as of August 2014, a rank she has held 5 times in her career. She is the younger sister of tennis star Venus Williams. She was born on September 26, 1981 in Saginaw, Michigan to Richard and Oracene Williams, and is the youngest of their 5 daughters. Richard Williams was a farmer in Louisiana who was an avid tennis fan and wanted to see his daughters succeed as professional tennis players. He bought instructional tapes and books to teach himself and his wife, so they could then teach their daughters in turn.

The family moved to Compton, California when Serena was three years old, where she started training at the run down tennis courts near their house along with her sister Venus. She played her first match at the age of 4 and half years. Both sisters displayed exceptional talent and enrolled in the U.S. junior Tennis Association. By 1991, Serena was ranked number one in the junior under 10 rankings with a win-loss record of 46-3. Although the girls had been dominating the junior circuit, Richard felt that they needed more time to focus on school and less pressure of competing in tournaments, so he withdrew both daughters from junior tournaments and focused on training them at home. He invited a tennis coach named Rick Macci to his home to watch his daughters play. Macci was duly impressed and invited the girls to join his academy in Florida. Subsequently, the family relocated to Florida where the girls enrolled at Macci’s academy and stayed there till 1995. This was also the year that Serena turned pro, and within two years her ranking increased from 304 to 99 which landed her a $12 million shoe deal with Puma.

Several people criticized Richard’s actions in pulling his daughters out of the junior tours and turning them pro, and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) did not let her enter into professional WTA tournaments until 1997 when she was aged 16. She gained prominence in tennis circles however, by beating world

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