The younger Williams sister has won titles in four decades and is focusing now on finally claiming her 24th singles grand slam title
When Venus Williams burst into the world of tennis by reaching the 1997 US Open final, nobody had a better seat on Arthur Ashe Arena than her younger sister. Serena watched as her sisters first steps from the tennis courts of Compton into the upper echelons of the country club sport were met with resistance and scorn. As the world fixated on Venus and the bombast of their father, Richard, Serena took her first steps to relatively less fanfare and her rise was seamless. In November 1997, at 16 years old, Serena, ranked 304, travelled to Chicago where she won her first main-draw match and then became the lowest-ranked player to defeat two top-10 players, ousting No 7 Mary Pierce and No 4 Monica Seles.
The 1990s were a period of development for Williams as she grew into her body and tested her strength. While her sisters height and long limbs allowed her to produce power early in her career, Serena was smaller and relatively underpowered. She made up for it with her use of angles and intelligent point construction, two defining facets of her game that remain. She rose steadily up the rankings and after facing Venus for the first time, in the second round of the Australian Open, she finished a consistent 1998 ranked 20th.
Venus started 1999 ranked in the top five and the world waited for her to finally make her move at the majors, but instead it was Serena who left her mark by marching through Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis in consecutive matches at Flushing Meadows to win her first grand-slam title at 17 years old. As Serena lifted her trophy, Venus sat aghast in the crowd as her younger sister finally stepped out from her shadow.
This was decade Serena showed all her potential on the court but she could never fully produce it for a sustained period. By 2002, Serena had matured and grown into a complete player with her service technique smoothed out, her weapons in full flight and her movement flowing.
Two and a half years since her maiden grand slam, she won her second title at the French Open, beating Venus in the final. It would mark the first of four consecutive grand-slam titles for Serena dubbed the Serena Slam defeating Venus in each and replacing her at No 1 as they fulfilled the proclamations of their father.
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