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Williams playing World Team Tennis in 2008
|Residence||Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, U.S. |
|Date of birth||September 26, 1981 (1981-09-26) (age 27)|
|Place of birth||Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.|
|Height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Weight||150 lb (68 kg)|
|Plays||Right; Two-handed backhand|
|Career prize money||US$23,540,604|
(1st in all-time rankings)
|Career record:||412–86 (82.6%)|
|Highest ranking:||No. 1 (July 8, 2002)|
|Grand Slam results|
|Australian Open||W (2003, 2005, 2007, 2009)|
|French Open||W (2002)|
|Wimbledon||W (2002, 2003)|
|US Open||W (1999, 2002, 2008)|
|WTA Championships||W (2001)|
|Olympic Games||QF (2008)|
|Career record:||117–17 (87.3%)|
|Highest ranking:||No. 5 (October 11, 1999)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||W (2001, 2003, 2009)|
|French Open||W (1999)|
|Wimbledon||W (2000, 2002, 2008)|
|US Open||W (1999)|
Infobox last updated on: February 16, 2009.
|Olympic medal record|
Serena Jameka Williams (born September 26, 1981) is an American professional tennis player who, as of February 2, 2009, is ranked World No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association, having now held that ranking on four different occasions. She is the current US Open and Australian Open singles champion and has won 20 Grand Slam titles: ten in singles, eight in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She also has won two Olympic gold medals in women's doubles. She is the most recent player, male or female, to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. Williams has won more career prize money than any other woman, in any sport. In 2005, Tennis magazine ranked her as the 17th-best player of the preceding forty years. She is the younger sister of a former World No. 1 professional female tennis player, Venus Williams.
Williams is primarily a baseline player. Her game is built around taking immediate control of rallies with her powerful and consistent serve, return of serve, and forceful groundstrokes that can come from both the forehand and backhand wing.
Her serve is widely regarded as the best in the women's game. She is known for having a very smooth motion and her serve is one of the most highly respected on the WTA tour. For example, Lindsay Davenport has said that Williams's serve is the best serve that she has faced on the WTA tour. Williams frequently hits serves over 120 mph and often varies the placement of her serve; in 2006 at Cincinnati she struck a serve which measured at 127 mph and in 2008 at Charleston she recorded 129 mph, a speed which only two other female players have exceeded. She can hit flat, slice, and topspin serves to both corners of the service box. Williams is capable of overpowering her opponents when returning serve, off both second and first serve.
Williams is also effective at the net, employing solid volleys (being especially effective on the drive volley) and powerful overheads. She also can produce good drop volleys, a shot that not many players use.
Although Williams's forehand is among the most powerful shots in the women's game, her backhand is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, on the Women's Tennis Association tour. Williams can often hit a winning backhand shot in any position or place on the court down the line or cross court albeit on the defence or under pressure. Williams strikes her backhand groundstroke using an open stance. She also uses the same open stance for her forehand.
Because of her aggressive style of play, Williams hits a relatively high number of unforced errors. This is tempered, however, by the fact that she typically hits more outright winners than her opponents. Other times her number of unforced errors are tempered by her powerful strokes forcing her opponents to commit errors.
Although many think of Williams as only an offensive player, she also has a good defensive game. Williams is quick around the court, and her core strength enables her to hit the ball efficiently from difficult positions. Williams has more variety in her game than the typical offensive baseline player. Although she normally dictates play from the baseline with heavy strokes, Williams occasionally slices her backhand or hits heavy topspin groundstrokes or drop shots to change the pace of the ball.
 Early years
Serena was born in Saginaw, Michigan into an African American family. When she, her sister, and her three half sisters were young, their parents, Richard and Oracene (also called Brandy), moved to the Los Angeles suburb of Compton. Her father dreamed of making at least one of his daughters a tennis superstar, hoping that involvement in sports would give them an opportunity for a better life. The children were homeschooled.
When Serena was four and a half, she won her first tournament, and she entered 49 tournaments by the age of 10, winning 46 of them. At one point, she replaced her sister Venus as the number one ranked tennis player aged 12 or under in California.
In 1991, Richard Williams, saying that he hoped to prevent his daughters from facing racism, stopped sending them to national junior tennis tournaments, and Serena attended a tennis school run by professional player Rick Macci in Haines City, Florida at Greneleaf Resort and Conference Center instead. Macci had already helped the careers of Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce, among others. During that time period, Serena would sometimes train with Andy Roddick. Both players recall that Serena beat him in a practice match, although the two dispute the score, with Serena saying it was 6–1 and Roddick claiming it was 6–4. Soon Richard, who had struck a deal on behalf of his daughters with a major clothing company, was able to move the rest of the Williams family to West Palm Beach, to be near Serena and Venus.
Williams became a professional in September 1995 at the age of 14. Because of her age, she had to participate in non-WTA events at first. Her first professional event was the tournament in Quebec City, where she was ousted in less than an hour of play, with 240 dollars in winnings.
Williams's biggest achievement of 1997 was her run in Chicago; ranked World No. 304, she upset both Monica Seles and Mary Pierce, recording her first career wins over top 10 players. She finished 1997 at World No. 99.
1998 was the first year that Williams finished ranked in the WTA top 20. She began the year in Sydney as a qualifier, ranked World No. 96, and defeated World No. 3 Lindsay Davenport in a quarterfinal. Williams was then expected to do well in her first Grand Slam tournament, but lost in the second round of the Australian Open to sister Venus.
Williams reached six other quarterfinals during the year. She won the mixed doubles titles at Wimbledon and the US Open with Max Mirnyi, completing the Williams family's sweep of the 1998 mixed doubles Grand Slams. Williams won her first pro title in doubles at Oklahoma City with sister Venus, becoming the third pair of sisters to win a WTA tour women's doubles title. She earned U.S. $2.6 million in prize money during the year.
In 1999, Serena defeated Amélie Mauresmo in the final of the Open Gaz de France tournament in Paris, the same day that Venus won the tournament in Oklahoma City. This was the first time in professional tennis history that two sisters had won titles in the same week.
In March, Williams won the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, becoming the second of only five unseeded Tier I champions in WTA history. Williams (ranked 21st) defeated the World No. 2 Lindsay Davenport in the second round, the World No. 8 Mary Pierce in a quarterfinal, and the World No. 7 Steffi Graf in the three-set final.
At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, sister Venus halted Serena's 16-match winning streak in the final. This was the first all-sister singles final during the open era. Serena defeated World No. 3 Monica Seles and World No. 1 Martina Hingis en route to the final.
On April 5, 1999, Serena made her top 10 debut at World No. 9. Venus was ranked sixth the same week, marking the first time that two sisters appeared in the top ten simultaneously since April 22, 1991, when Manuela and Katerina Maleeva were in the top ten.
Williams teamed with sister Venus to win the women's doubles title at the French Open but lost in the third round in singles at that tournament. Williams missed Wimbledon because of an injury.
In the summer, Williams won the hard court tournament in Los Angeles, defeating World No. 8 Arantxa Sánchez Vicario, World No. 1 Hingis, and Julie Halard-Decugis.
At the US Open, the seventh-seeded Williams defeated World No. 4 Seles, World No. 2 Davenport, and World No. 1 Hingis to become the lowest seed to win the title and the second African-American woman (after Althea Gibson in 1958) to win a Grand Slam singles tournament. Williams said about Hingis, "She just speaks her mind. I guess it has a little bit to do with not having a formal education. But you just have to think more ... use your brain a little more in the tennis world."
Williams went on to take the Grand Slam Cup in Munich, defeating Venus in the final.
Williams won her singles match and doubles match during the tie between the United States and Russia in the final of the Fed Cup. The U.S. won four of the five matches and its 16th title overall. In their doubles match, Serena and Venus defeated Elena Dementieva and Elena Makarova 6–2, 6–1.
Williams finished the year at World No. 4 in just her second full year on the main tour.
Williams became the focus of many ad campaigns, including one with shoe and clothes maker Puma, which signed her to a U.S.$12 million agreement.
Following her breakthrough season, Williams's results declined slightly in 2000. Her best Grand Slam showing was a run to the semifinals at Wimbledon, before losing to sister and eventual champion Venus. Her defense of the US Open title came to a disappointing end when she fell to Lindsay Davenport in straight sets in the quarterfinals.
Perhaps the highlight of Williams's year was picking up the gold medal at the Sydney Olympics for women's doubles, along with Venus. The Williams sisters also teamed up to take the women's doubles title at Wimbledon, while Serena picked up singles titles in Hanover, Los Angeles and Tokyo. She finished the year at number six, a slight decline on her finish the year before.
Williams reached the quarterfinals of the Australian Open for the first time before falling to World No. 1 Martina Hingis. Serena and her sister Venus won the women's doubles title there, becoming only the fifth women's doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam doubles titles during their career, a "Career Grand Slam".
Williams then won the Tier I Tennis Masters Series in Indian Wells, California.
Williams reached the quarterfinals at both the French Open and Wimbledon.
During the North American summer hard court season, Williams captured her second title of the year at the Tier I Rogers Cup in Toronto, defeating World No. 3 and top-seeded Jennifer Capriati in the final. At the US Open, Williams defeated Hingis in the semifinals to reach her second Grand Slam final before losing to sister Venus.
At the year-ending Sanex Championships, Williams defeated Silvia Farina Elia, Justine Henin, and Sandrine Testud en route to the final. She then won the championship by default when Lindsay Davenport withdrew.
Williams finished the year at World No. 6 for the second straight year.
| ||This section does not cite any references or sources.|
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)
Williams was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open due to injury but won her first event of the year in Scottsdale, defeating World No. 1 Jennifer Capriati in the final. She then won the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, again defeating Capriati in the final. She then captured her first career title on clay at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, defeating Justine Henin in the final.
Williams was the third-seeded player at the French Open and dropped just two sets en route to the final. She then defeated sister Venus in straight sets. At Wimbledon, Williams won the title without dropping a set, defeating Venus once again in the final. This win earned Williams the World No. 1 ranking (dethroning her sister and becoming the second African-American woman to hold that ranking on the Women's Tennis Association computer). The Williams sisters also won the doubles title at this event.
Williams captured her third straight Grand Slam singles title at the US Open, once again not dropping a set en route, and defeated Venus yet again in the final in straight sets. Williams then won back-to-back titles in Leipzig and Tokyo. She reached the final at the year-ending Home Depot Championships but lost to 19-year-old Kim Clijsters in straight sets.
Williams finished 2002 with a 56–5 record, eight singles titles, and the World No. 1 ranking.
| ||This section does not cite any references or sources.|
Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed. (April 2008)
At the Australian Open, Williams dropped only one set while reaching the semifinals. She then defeated Kim Clijsters 4–6, 6–3, 7–5, recovering from a 5–1 deficit in the third set and saving two match points. She then faced her sister Venus for the fourth consecutive Grand Slam final and won in three sets, to become the sixth woman in the open era to complete a Career Grand Slam, joining Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Margaret Court. She also became the first woman since Steffi Graf to hold all four of the grand slam titles at one time. The Williams sisters won their sixth Grand Slam doubles title together at this event.
Williams then captured titles at the Open Gaz de France in Paris and the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida and went into the French Open trying to capture her fifth consecutive Grand Slam singles title. However, she lost to eventual champion Justine Henin in the semifinals 6–2, 4–6, 7–5 (having led by a break in the third set) in a match marred by controversy, in which Williams was booed. Two weeks later, however, Williams won her sixth Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating Henin in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2 before defeating Venus in the final.
Wimbledon was Williams's last event of the year, as a knee injury forced her to withdraw from all other events (including the US Open). As a result, she lost her World No. 1 ranking to Clijsters in August, having held it for 57 weeks. Williams finished the year ranked World No. 3, despite having played only seven tournaments plus Fed Cup.
Williams's older sister, Yetunde Price, was murdered on the morning of September 14, 2003, by gunshots as she passed by in a car driven by a man in the Compton area.
Williams withdrew from the Australian Open to continue rehabilitating her left knee. After eight months away from the tour, Williams began her comeback at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she defeated Elena Dementieva in the final. She then lost in the French Open quarterfinals to Jennifer Capriati 6–3, 2–6, 6–3, which was the first time she had lost before the semifinals at a Grand Slam singles tournament since Wimbledon in 2001. She reached the final of Wimbledon, but in one of the most surprising upsets in the tournament's history, the 17-year old Russian player, Maria Sharapova, defeated Williams in straight sets.
On July 30, Williams withdrew from her quarterfinal match in San Diego against Russia's Vera Zvonareva with another left knee injury. On August 1, she announced her withdrawal from the Rogers Cup due to the same injury. The injury also forced her to pull out of the Summer Olympics.
Williams's next tournament was the US Open, where she lost a quarterfinal match to Capriati. The match was plagued by disputes over calls with the umpire. Williams protested later on the Ellen show by wearing a bright orange shirt with white capital letters, stating "THE BALL WAS IN!"
At the China Open in Beijing, Williams defeated the newly crowned US Open champion, Svetlana Kuznetsova, in the final. Williams earned enough points there to reach the WTA Tour Championships, where she again lost to Sharapova in the final. Williams suffered a stomach muscle strain during the match after leading 6–4, 2–1, consequently Williams began delivering serves barely reaching the 100 mph mark and Sharapova eventually won the match, 4–6, 6–2, 6–4. Despite the loss, Williams finished the year at World No. 7.
Williams won the Australian Open, her seventh Grand Slam singles title. She defeated three of the tournament's top four seeds (#2 Amélie Mauresmo, #4 Maria Sharapova, and #1 Lindsay Davenport) en route to the title. Williams saved three match points against Sharapova in the semifinals. The win moved her up to World No. 2, and Williams stated she was now targeting the number one spot in the foreseeable future.
Williams did not reach the final at any of her next five tournaments. This period included a loss to sister Venus - her first since 2001 - in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
An ankle injury forced Williams to miss the French Open. At Wimbledon, Williams was defeated in the third round by fellow American Jill Craybas (ranked World No. 85) 6–3, 7–6(4).
At the US Open, Williams lost to her sister Venus in the fourth round 7–6, 6–2. This was the earliest the sisters had met in a Grand Slam tournament since their first meeting at the 1998 Australian Open. Williams played just one more match during the remainder of the year, a loss to World No. 127 Sun Tiantian in Beijing.
Williams finished the year ranked World No. 11 and with just one singles title.
Williams did not participate in any of the official warm-up tournaments for the Australian Open. Williams was the defending champion at the Australian Open but fell to Daniela Hantuchová 6–1, 7–6(5) in the third round, provoking media reports that Williams had lost enthusiasm for the sport, which she denied. Her world ranking then fell out of the top 50 for the first time in many years, and she withdrew from the tournaments in Antwerp, the Dubai, and the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida.
After withdrawing from the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams's world ranking fell out of the top 100 for the first time in almost nine years. Shortly after, she announced that she would miss both the French Open and Wimbledon because of a chronic knee injury. She said that she would not be able to compete before "the end of the summer", on doctor's orders.
Williams, however, returned to the game earlier than expected, accepting wildcards to summer hard court tournaments in Cincinnati and Los Angeles. Ranked World No. 139 because of her inactivity, Williams upset the Cincinnati tournament's second seed and World No. 11 Anastasia Myskina 6–2, 6–2 in the first round before losing in the semifinals to the eventual champion Vera Zvonareva 6–2, 6–3. Williams's ranking rose to World No. 108 after Cincinnati. In Los Angeles, Williams defeated Hantuchová in the third round but lost in the semifinals to Jelena Janković 6–4, 6–3.
Williams was granted a wildcard into the US Open, as her ranking prevented her from gaining direct entry into the tournament. She was unseeded in a Grand Slam tournament for the first time since 1998. However, she defeated US Open Series champion Ana Ivanović in the third round before losing to top seed Amélie Mauresmo in the fourth round 6–4, 0–6, 6–2. Williams did not play again for the rest of the year.
Williams ended the year ranked World No. 95, her lowest end-of-year ranking since 1997 when she finished World No. 99.
Williams finished 2007 ranked World No. 7 and won two singles titles, her best performance in both aspects since 2004. She was also the top-ranked American for the first time since 2003.
Williams began the year by stating that she had no doubt she would be World No. 1 again, a comment that attracted criticism in the press from Pat Cash.
Williams competed at the tournament in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia as a warm-up for the Australian Open. However, she lost to unseeded Sybille Bammer of Austria in the quarterfinals. Williams was unseeded at the Australian Open because of her World No. 81 ranking and was widely regarded as "out of shape". In the third round, however, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Nadia Petrova, which was her first win over a top 10 player since defeating Lindsay Davenport in the 2005 Australian Open final. In the quarterfinals, Williams was two points from losing to Shahar Pe'er before prevailing and then defeated tenth-seeded Nicole Vaidišová in the semifinals in straight sets. In the final, Williams defeated top-seeded Maria Sharapova in straight sets to win her third Australian Open singles title, her eighth Grand Slam singles title, and her sixteenth Grand Slam title overall. Williams dedicated the title to her deceased sister Yetunde. Her performance in the final was described by TENNIS.com as "one of the best performances of her career" and by BBC Sport as "arguably the most powerful display ever seen in women's tennis". Williams explained how her deceased older sister Yetunde inspired her to win this title: "I just said, 'Serena, this has to be motivating. This has to be more than enough to motivate me,' and I think it was." Her ranking rose to World No. 14 as a result of the win.
Williams next played at the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. In the fourth round, Williams again defeated World No. 2 Sharapova 6–1, 6–1. She went on to reach the final, where she defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin in three sets after Williams saved two match points in the second set.
At the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina on clay courts, Williams received a first round bye and then retired from her second round match due to a groin pull. The following week, Williams won her first singles match in the first round Fed Cup tie against Belgium on hard courts but withdrew from the second singles match to rest her knee.
Williams played only one clay court tournament in Europe before the French Open. In Rome at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Williams lost to fourteenth-seeded Patty Schnyder of Switzerland 6–3, 2–6, 7–6(5). After the tournament, however, she re-entered the top 10, moving up to World No. 9. As the eighth seed at the French Open, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Henin 6–4, 6–3. Following the match, Williams said her performance was "hideous and horrendous" and worse than ever. She also said that she felt "violated."
Despite this loss, Williams was one of the favorites for the Wimbledon title. During her fourth round match against Daniela Hantuchová, Williams collapsed from an acute muscle spasm at 5–5 in the second set. After a medical timeout and holding serve to force a tiebreak, the rain came and play was suspended for nearly two hours. When the players returned to the court, Williams won the match 6–2, 6–7(2), 6–2.  Williams then lost her quarterfinal match with World No. 1 Henin 6–4, 3–6, 6–3. Williams started the match with a heavily taped calf and was forced to use a one-handed backhand slice because of an injury to her left thumb. Williams drew criticism when she claimed after the match that she would have beaten Henin had Williams been healthy. After Wimbledon, Williams moved up to World No. 7, her highest ranking since 2005.
Because of the thumb injury, Williams did not play a tournament between Wimbledon and the US Open. At the US Open itself, she beat 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli in the fourth round, setting up her third consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal with Henin. Williams lost again, 7–6(3), 6–1, her third straight loss to Henin in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam event.
In October, Williams lost in the quarterfinals of the tournament in Stuttgart to World No. 2 Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–3. Williams then reached her third final of the year at the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, defeating Kuznetsova in the semifinals. In the final, however, she lost to Elena Dementieva. Nevertheless, Williams's performances at these tournaments increased her ranking to World No. 5 and qualified her for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Madrid. Williams's participation there was short. Because of injury, she retired from her first match with Anna Chakvetadze after losing the first set and then withdrew from the tournament.
Williams started the year by participating on the U.S. team that won the Hopman Cup for the fifth time in Perth, Australia.
Williams entered the 2008 Australian Open as the defending champion and seventh seed but lost in the quarterfinals to World No. 4 and third-seeded Jelena Janković 6–3, 6–4. This was her fourth straight loss in the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. In the women's doubles event, Serena and her sister Venus lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team, Zheng Jie and Yan Zi.
Williams then withdrew from the Open Gaz de France in Paris, the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, and the Dubai Duty Free Women's Open due to an urgent need for dental surgery.
Upon her return to the tour, Williams won three consecutive singles titles. At the Tier II tournament in Bangalore, India, Serena defeated sister Venus in the semifinals 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(4) after Serena saved a match point 6–5 in the third set. This was the first time they had played each other since the fourth round of the 2005 US Open. Serena then defeated Patty Schnyder of Switzerland in the final. At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams won her fifth career singles title there, tying Steffi Graf for the most singles titles at this tournament. Williams defeated World No. 1 Justine Henin in the quarterfinals, World No. 3 Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals, and World No. 4 Janković in the final. This was Williams's 30th career singles title. At the clay court Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Williams defeated, for the fourth consecutive time, second-seeded Maria Sharapova in the quarterfinals 7–5, 4–6, 6–1. In the final, Williams defeated Vera Zvonareva to capture her tenth career Tier I title and first clay court title since the 2002 French Open.
Williams's 17-match winning streak was ended by Dinara Safina in the quarterfinals of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin 2–6, 6–1, 7–6(5). Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome and made it to the quarterfinals, where Alizé Cornet received a walkover over Williams because of a back injury.
Williams was the fifth-seeded player at the French Open. Although she was the only former winner of this tournament in this year's draw, she lost in the third round to 27th-seeded Katarina Srebotnik 6–4, 6–4.
At Wimbledon, the sixth-seeded Williams reached the semifinals for the first time in four years. She defeated former World No. 1 and 2006 Wimbledon champion Amélie Mauresmo in the third round 7–6(5), 6–1. She then defeated Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinals and Zheng Jie, a Chinese wild card, in the semifinals. Williams, however, lost the final to her older sister Venus in straight sets. Serena and Venus then teamed to win the women's doubles title without dropping a set the entire tournament, defeating Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur in the final.
Williams then played four World Team Tennis matches for the Washington Kastles, contributing 49 points for her team.
Williams was seeded first at the tournament in Stanford, California. After defeating fifth-seeded Schnyder in the quarterfinals, Williams retired from her semifinal match against qualifier Aleksandra Wozniak while trailing 6–2, 3–1 because of a left knee injury. That injury caused Williams to withdraw from the tournament in Los Angeles the following week.
At the Beijing Olympics, Williams was the fourth-seeded player in singles but lost to fifth-seeded and eventual gold-medalist Elena Dementieva in the quarterfinals 3–6, 6–4, 6–3. Serena and her sister Venus were the second-seeded team in doubles. They won the gold medal, beating the Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual in the final.
Williams was seeded fourth at the US Open and defeated her seventh-seeded sister Venus in the quarterfinals 7–6(6), 7–6(7). Serena trailed 5–3 in both sets and saved two set points in the first set and eight set points in the second set. Williams then defeated Safina in the semifinals 6–3, 6–2. She went on to win the title, her ninth career Grand Slam, defeating second-seeded Janković in the final, and became the new World No. 1.
At the Tier II Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Williams was the top seed but lost to World No. 30 Li Na in the second round 0–6, 6–1, 6–4. Serena also played doubles in Stuttgart with her sister Venus, but they withdrew after winning their first round match because of a left ankle injury to Serena.
On October 3, 2008, Williams announced her withdrawal from the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, citing a continuing left ankle injury and a desire to give her body time to recover from a packed 2008 playing schedule. Because of her withdrawal, she lost the World No. 1 ranking to Janković.
Williams defeated Dinara Safina in her first round robin match at the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha 6–4, 6–1 before losing to her sister Venus 5–7, 6–1, 6–0 in her second round robin match. She then withdrew from her match against Elena Dementieva citing a stomach muscle injury. She ended the year ranked World No. 2.
At the Medibank International in Sydney, top-seeded Williams defeated Australian Samantha Stosur in the first round 6–3, 6–7(4), 7–5 after saving four match points when Stosur served for the match at 5–4 in the third set. Williams then defeated Sara Errani in the second round 6–1, 6–2. In the quarterfinals against Danish player Caroline Wozniacki, Williams won 6–7(5), 6–3, 7–6(3) after saving three match points when Wozniacki served for the match at 6–5 in the third set. In the semifinals against Russian Elena Dementieva, Williams was defeated 6–3, 6–1. This was Williams's third consecutive loss to Dementieva.
Williams was the second-seeded player at the Australian Open. She defeated Yuan Meng of China in the first round, Gisela Dulko in the second round (saving six set points in second set), Peng Shuai of China in the third round, and Victoria Azarenka in the fourth round after Azarenka was forced to retire from the match in the second set. Williams twice was three points from defeat before beating eighth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova in the quarterfinals and and then defeated fourth-seeded Dementieva in the semifinals. She went on to defeat Dinara Safina in the final to claim her tenth Grand Slam singles title, ranking her seventh on the list of female players with the most Grand Slam singles titles. The win also returned her to the World No. 1 ranking and resulted in her becoming the all-time career prize money leader in women's sports. In women's doubles, Serena and her sister Venus captured the title for the third time, defeating Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama in the final.
At the Open GDF SUEZ in Paris, Williams withdrew from the tournament before her scheduled semifinal with Dementieva because of a knee injury.
Williams is seeded first at the ongoing Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships. After a bye in the first round, she is scheduled to play Sara Errani.
 Off-court activities
Williams is known for her unusual and colorful outfits on court. In 2002, Williams created an on-court stir when she wore a leather-looking catsuit at the US Open. Again at the US Open, in 2004, Williams wore denim skirts and boots. At the 2008 Wimbledon, Serena donned a white trench coat while warming up for her opening match against Kaia Kanepi. The trench coat created a buzz since Williams wore it despite the perfect and sunny weather. Serena ended up wearing the trench coat for the remainder of the tournament. Williams formerly had a special line with Puma and currently has a line with Nike. The deal with Nike is worth US$40 million dollars and was signed in April 2004.
Outside the tennis courts, Williams was also the center of attention when in November 2004, she reached a new level of exposure at the London premiere of Pierce Brosnan's new film, After the Sunset. In an outfit that had a near-topless effect, Williams wore a red gown with strips of sheer fabric.
Williams has her own line of designer clothing called Aneres — her first name spelled backward — that she plans to sell in boutiques in Miami and Los Angeles. Venus also appeared as one of her models, showing her latest designs.
In 2001, Serena appeared in The Simpsons episode "Tennis the Menace"; after Bart and Lisa are dropped by parents Marge and Homer respectively to play against each other. She has also posed for a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and has had a lucrative career in advertisements.  
In April 2005, MTV announced plans to broadcast a reality show around the lives of Serena and Venus Williams; however, ABC Family ended up airing the show.
Williams was the fifth victim and the ninth star ever to be on Punk'd more than once. Her first appearance was when Williams had to save a Punk'd problem kid played by Rob Pinkston until Kutcher exposed the set-up. Her second is when Serena passed the prank on her sister Venus after both Serena and Venus were fighting with a fraud during a photoshoot with some handicapped people.
In 2002, serena played Miss Wiggins in the season 3 episode "Crouching Mother, Hidden Father" of My Wife and Kids. In 2005, Williams guest starred in an episode of the twelfth season of ER. She also guest starred on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
Welsh indie band, Super Furry Animals, sang a track on their 2003 album Phantom Power called "Venus and Serena" - dedicated to the sisters.
In 2007, Williams appeared in the ABC reality television series Fast Cars and Superstars: The Gillette Young Guns Celebrity Race, featuring a dozen celebrities in a stock car racing competition. In the first round of competition, Williams matched up against surfer Laird Hamilton and former NFL quarterback John Elway. That same year, Williams appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, where he challenged Williams to a tennis match on the Wii video game console. Conan overcame a break point to win the match.
On the fourteenth page of a January 2007 issue of TV Guide, it is stated that "Tennis star Serena Williams will provide a guest voice on the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender next season." Williams herself has gone as far to state that Avatar is her favorite show.
She was previously a guest voice on the Playhouse Disney animated kids show, Higglytown Heroes as the snow plough driver hero.
Williams appears in the July issue of Jane Magazine along with Eva Mendes, Joss Stone, and five other famous faces.
Williams appears in an American music video for the conscious rapper Common, along with Alicia Keys, and rapper Kanye West called "I Want You", released on November 2007.
Serena funded the construction of a secondary school in Kenya during in November 2008. The school is named after her.
Serena received Celebrity Role Model Award from Avon Foundation in 2003 for work in breast cancer.
From 2004 to 2005, Williams dated Brett Ratner. In 2007 she was linked to Miami Heat Forward Udonis Haslem and actor Jackie Long of "ATL" & "Idlewild" fame. She Is dating rapper Common in 2008.
Both Serena and Venus are Jehovah's Witnesses.
Serena currently resides at Ballen Isles in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.
- See: WTA Awards
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Williams explains how her deceased older sister Yetunde inspired her to win her third Australian Open singles title in 2007: "I just said, 'Serena, this has to be motivating. This has to be more than enough to motivate me,' and I think it was."
At the 1999 US Open, Williams said about Martina Hingis, "She just speaks her mind. I guess it has a little bit to do with not having a formal education. But you just have to think more ... use your brain a little more in the tennis world."
Grand Slam finals (23)
|Year||Championship||Surface||Opponent in Final||Score in Final|
|1999||US Open||Hard||Martina Hingis||6–3, 7–6(4)|
|2002||French Open||Clay||Venus Williams||7–5, 6–3|