The most famous face in both women’s and American tennis, Serena Williams has dominated practically since she made her professional debut more than two decades ago. Born in Saginaw, Michigan, but raised in Compton, California, Serena Williams began playing tennis at 3 years old. Both parents coached Serena and sister Venus, while father Richard also home-schooled the siblings. When Serena was 9, the family moved again to West Palm Beach, Florida, to train under the tutelage of Rick Macci. Serena turned pro on Sept. 24, 1995 – two days before her 14th birthday. Serena first hit world no. 1 status in July 2002 and has spent more than 300 total weeks in that position. She won three Grand Slam titles in 2015, losing in a dramatic semifinal to Italy’s Roberta Vinci; Serena was later named 2015’s Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated. With four Olympic gold medals in tennis, Serena and sister Venus have more than any other player; appropriately, the siblings won three of those in women’s doubles at the 2000, 2008, and 2012 Olympic Games. Serena also won a gold in women’s singles at London 2012. In July 2016, Serena won her 22nd Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. Off the court, Serena is known for her fashion endeavors and philanthropy with the Serena Williams Foundation. She has helped construct schools in countries like Kenya and Jamaica. Additionally, Serena has served as an International Goodwill Ambassador with UNICEF since 2011.
Date of Birth: 09/26/1981
First Olympics: 2000, Sydney