Person of The Week :Serena Williams
By: Jazmine Montgomery
When you think of most women in sports , the first athlete to come to mind is Serena Williams . The term you play like a girl is taken completely different when it comes to this female tennis star .
Serena Jameka Williams was born September 28 , 1981 in Saginaw , Michigan , she is the youngest of five Yelunde , Lydrea , Isha , and Venus . The family moved to Compton when Serena was three years old , around this time Serena and Venus began learning how to play tennis from their father . When Williams was nine her family moved to West Palm Beach , Fl so her and Venus could attend the Tennis Academy for Rick Macci to get additional coaching from Rick Macci , along with their father as well as their coach.
At the age of 10 Serena’s father decided to pull Serna and Venus from tennis tournaments , because he wanted his daughters to enjoy being kids and for racial issues . Their father had heard many of the white parents saying derogatory racial things about his daughters during tournaments . During this time Serena had a 46-3 record in the United States Tennis Association on the junior tour and was ranked number one among the 10 and under in the state of Florida .
In 1995 , Serena Williams turned pro . Two years later she was already ranked no.99 in the world ranking , up from no.304 just a year ago . A year later , Willams graduated from high school and got a 12 million dollar shoe deal with Puma . In 1999 , Serena beat out her big sister Venus where she won the U.S. Open title . The sisters brought a new face to tennis which began inspiring young black girls to want to play tennis !
Things would take a turn in Serena’s career in August 2003 , Williams would have to undergo knee putting a hold on her career for awhile . The following month in September her half sister Yetunde was shot and killed . Three years later , Serena began to feel burned out with injuries , and her lack of motivation to stay in shape caused her to drop in her tennis rankings to 139 .
During this time Serena turned to her faith as a Jehovah Witness to make a trip to West Africa for life changing experience . By 2009 , Williams was back on her grind came out with her autobiography , Queen of The Court and she reached the top of the rankings again winning both the 2009 Australian Open Singles for the fourth time and the 2009 Wimbledon singles for the third time , and also won doubles at both . The high of being back on top wouldn’t last long though for Williams , in 2011 she would have to put her career on hold again for health reasons . Serena’s doctor had found a blood clot in her lungs , after a few procedures Serena would return back to tennis , even though many worried that this would cause her to retire early .
In 2012 , Serena won her fifth Wimbledon title , later on that summer she took home her first Gold medal in women’s singles , and teamed up with her sister taking home another Gold medal in Women’s Doubles . In September of that year Williams beat out her rival Victoria Azarenka at the U.S. open . By this time Williams had captured 15 Grand Slam single titles and 13 Grand Slam double titles .This past June Serena was able to take home her 20th Grand Slam Singles title , and win her 6th Wimbledon just within this last month .
Serena definitely has proved to be more than just another athlete . People’s magazine named her one of top 25 intriguing people , and Essence named one of the countries 50 Most inspiring African Americans . Williams even has her own educational foundation the Serena Williams foundations , which provides education for underprivileged kids around the world . She has even built schools for children in Africa as well through her foundation .Williams says she strives to make her mark on and off the court , and she is doing exactly that .