On Friday Serena Williams will attempt to add another record to her glittering list of honours at the US Open

Player of the century Serena Williams and the 100 facts you didn’t know about her!


So you think you know everything about Serena Williams, possibly the greatest female tennis player of all time? Stephen Towers tests your knowledge with 100 of the more obscure facts about the former world No 1


  1. Her favourite author is Maya Angelou, an American poet, singer, writer and civil rights activist


  1. She loves the music of George Michael. Her favourite Michael song is “Faith”



  1. She is a fan of the American punk rock band Green Day



  1. She appeared in Beyonce’s “Lemonade” video in 2016. “I think people were a little surprised that I could dance,” she said


  1. Sophia Petrillo is her favourite character from the TV series “The Golden Girls”


  1. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Kim Kardashian and Eva Longoria were among her wedding guests




  1. After her marriage to Alexia Ohanian, she decided not to change her surname. “It would be complicated,” she said


  1. She missed her daughter Olympia’s first steps during Wimbledon because she was out training


  1. She played a small part as Agent Ross in the film “Hair Show” in 2004


  1. She became friends with Meghan Markle – now the Duchess of Sussex – after they met at the 2010 Super Bowl


  1. In 2008 on a trip to South Africa she met Nelson Mandela


  1. She has two dogs, Laurelai (a Maltese) and Chip (a Yorkshire terrier). Jackie, a Jack Russell terrier, died three years ago


  1. She once made herself ill after trying “a spoonful” of salmon and rice intended for Chip


  1. She collects Wimbledon towels. “I have an antique collection,” she said. “I think my towels literally date back to a different millennium”



Serena Williams completed the second Š—…Serena SlamŠ—È of her career after defeating Garbine Muguruza to win her sixth Wimbledon title


  1. As a Jehovah’s Witness, she refuses to get involved in politics. “I don’t vote,” she says. “It goes back to my religion”


  1. Her favourite time to play is mid-afternoon, either the second or third match after an 11am start. “Enough time to get me going,” she says


  1. She considers Muhammad Ali the greatest athlete of all time because of “not only what he did in his field, but also what he did outside”


  1. In 2015 she lost to Stan Wawrinka at table tennis. “I got destroyed,” she said



  1. She likes to invest in tech businesses owned or run by women and African Americans


  1. She is on the board of the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, which helps people from more diverse backgrounds to become future leaders


  1. She owns a small stake in the Miami Dolphins American Football franchise


  1. Of the 25 other players who have been world No 1 in the 43-year history of the official world rankings, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Tracy Austin and Evonne Goolagong are the only ones she has not beaten. They all retired before her career began


  1. She shares the record of the most consecutive weeks (186) as world No 1 with Steffi Graf


  1. She has been world No 1 for 319 weeks, a total bettered only by Graf (377) and Martina Navratilova (332)


  1. She became the oldest women’s world No 1 in 2013


  1. She is one of six players who have been world No 1 in singles and doubles at the same time. The other are Martina Navratilova, Martina Hingis, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Linday Davenport and Kim Clijsters


Former world No.1 Kim Clijsters might have hung up her racket for good


  1. As world No 181 she was the lowest ranked player to reach the Wimbledon women’s singles final this summer


  1. As No 25 seed this year she was the lowest to reach the Wimbledon final in the Open era


  1. She sometimes prepares for Wimbledon by practising on the grass courts at Jack Nicklaus’ home in Florida


  1. She was world No 81 when she won the 2007 Australian Open. “The general consensus was that I was a big fat cow,” she wrote in her autobiography


  1. Her career total prize money of $88.2m is more than double that of Venus, the second player on the list


  1. She holds the women’s record for the most prize money won in a single season ($12,4m in 2013)


  1. She has won more than $1m in a year in prize money 18 times


  1. She finished second on the WTA earnings list in 2017 despite playing only two tournaments


  1. She earned only $62,000 in prize money between June 2017 and June 2018 but $18.1m in endorsements according to the annual Forbes list


  1. She was born in Saginaw, Michigan, near where her mother came from. The family moved to Compton, California, a few months later


  1. Her father, Richard, had his own security firm and her mother, Oracene, was a nurse



  1. Her middle name is Jameka. Richard used to call her Meeka


  1. She grew up with four sisters – Yetunde, Isha, Lyndrea and Venus


  1. Her oldest sister, Yetunde, was killed in a shooting incident in Compton in 2003


  1. She is one year, three months and nine days younger than Venus


  1. When she was young she spent more time hitting with her mother than with her father


  1. Richard, comparing his daughters, once called Serena “the meaner of the two”. Serena’s response? “I don’t think I am mean at all. I am a very nice person – sometimes”


  1. As a child she remembers hearing gunshots from drive-by shootings during her practice sessions on public courts in Compton



  1. She met Billie Jean King for the first time aged seven when her father took her to a coaching clinic organised by World Team Tennis


  1. She was eight when she played her first tournament, a 10-and-under event near their home in Compton. She was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Venus in the final


  1. Her family moved from California to Haines City, Florida when she was nine


  1. As a child she did ballet, gymnastics and karate


  1. She was educated at Driftwood Academy, a private school in Lake Park, Florida


  1. Richard and Oracene told their children they were divorcing in 1999


  1. Richard decided on a professional tennis career for his daughters after learning on TV that the Romanian player Virginia Ruzici had just earned $40,000 in a week



  1. Monica Seles and Zina Garrison were Serena’s two tennis role models growing up


  1. She first played on a clay court when her family moved to Florida


  1. She made her professional debut in Quebec in 1995 at the age of 14. She lost 6-1, 6-1 to Anne Miller


  1. She lost her first main-draw match, against Kimberly Po-Messerli, in Moscow in 1997 when she was 16



  1. Her first victory as a professional came at Indian Wells in 1997 alongside Venus in the doubles


  1. Her first win against a top 10 opponent was when she beat Mary Pierce (world No 7) in Chicago in 1997


  1. Her first title came in doubles with Venus at Oklahoma City in 1998


  1. She won her first Grand Slam match, at the 1998 Australian Open, against Irina Spirlea



  1. At her first Australian Open in 1998 she played mixed doubles with Lleyton Hewitt


  1. At her first US Open in 1998 she played mixed doubles with Max Mirnyi. Twenty years later, both are still playing


  1. Early in her career she studied design and fashion at the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale


  1. The first time she competed against Venus as a professional was at the 1998 Australian Open. Venus won 7-6, 6-1


Hingis. Capriati. Davenport. Clijsters. Henin. None of them


  1. Karsten Braasch, a journeyman professional, played practice sets against Serena and Venus in Australia in 1998. He beat Serena 6-1 and Venus 6-2


  1. Venus won her first three career meetings with Serena but only nine of the next 27


  1. Venus has beaten Serena more times (12) than any other player


  1. Serena and Venus have played in 14 Grand Slam doubles finals and won them all. No women’s pair have won as many



  1. Of the 23 doubles titles Serena has won, only one was without Venus. She won at Leipzig in 2002 with Alexandra Stevenson


  1. She has won four Olympic gold medals – three with Venus in doubles and one in singles in 2012


  1. Steffi Graf played Serena twice before retiring in 1999. Graf won in Sydney and Serena won at Indian Wells


  1. After winning her first US Open in 1999 Serena took a phone call from Bill Clinton, the US President


  1. In beating Martina Hingis 6-3, 7-6(4) in the 1999 US Open final she made 57 unforced errors


Martina Hingis won the ladies' singles title at Wimbledon in 1997 aged 16


  1. At the Miami Open in 2002 she beat the world’s top three players, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams and Jennifer Capriati. Venus and Steffi Graf are the only other players who have beaten the top three at the same tournament


  1. At the 2002 US Open she wore a leather catsuit


  1. Only three players who have played her more than once have a winning head-to-head record against her: Arantxa Sanchez Vicario (4-3), Sybille Bammer (2-0) and Naomi Osaka (2-0)


  1. Over the course of her career she has won one out of every three tournaments she has played


  1. She has done the “Serena Slam” (holding all four Grand Slam titles at the same time) twice, in 2002-2003 and 2014-2015


  1. The only time when she pulled out in the middle of a Grand Slam tournament was at this year’s French Open, where she suffered a pectoral muscle injury


  1. She is the only woman to have won a Grand Slam singles title in three different decades


Tennishead's 12 Days of Christmas review of the 2016 season. Day Five


  1. The 18-year span between her first and most recent Grand Slam titles (the 1999 US Open and the 2017 Australian Open) is the longest in women’s tennis history. The previous record of 12 years was shared by Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf


  1. Her 11-year gap between winning French Open titles in 2002 and 2013 is the longest between titles for any woman at a Grand Slam event


  1. She lost the first set in four of her seven matches en route to the French Open title in 2015


  1. After Patrick Mouratoglou started coaching her in 2012 she won eight of the next 13 Grand Slam tournaments



  1. She has played in 69 Grand Slam tournaments. Since her debut in 1998 she has missed 15


  1. She has reached at least one Grand Slam final every year since 2006


  1. She has won more matches (95) at the US Open than at any of the other four Grand Slam events


  1. She has reached the quarter-finals or better of her last 10 US Opens


  1. In 2015 she went within two wins of a pure calendar-year Grand Slam before losing to Roberta Vinci in the semi-finals of the US Open



  1. She has no plans to go into coaching but says that if she would like to work with anyone it would be the young Russian Daria Kasatkina


  1. Her fastest recorded serve was timed at 128.6mph at the 2013 Australian Open


  1. She has a two-bedroom apartment in Paris close to the Eiffel Tower


  1. She was fined $82,500 for her profanity-laced tirade against a line judge during her 2009 US Open semi-final against Kim Clijsters


  1. She had two foot operations in 2010 after treading on glass in a Munich restaurant. Her foot was in a cast for 20 weeks


  1. As a result of the Munich accident she did not play a tournament for 12 months


  1. On a trip to Senegal at the end of 2006 she agreed at a meeting with President Abdoulaye Wade to help him build a school that children would be able to attend for free


  1. She was on a flight from New York to Florida at the time of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Her flight was rerouted to Washington


  1. During her first match at the 2015 Hopman Cup in Perth she asked for a coffee during a changeover. “I needed some espresso and I needed to wake up,” she said. “It’s the jet lag”


  1. Her hitting partner, 27-year-old Jarmere Jenkins, reached a career-high position of No 190 in the world rankings


  1. She was Venus Williams’ first hitting partner when her sister started playing tournaments


  1. She says that all female players “love Andy Murray” because of his support for women’s issues



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Tim Farthing, Tennishead Editorial Director & Owner, has been a huge tennis fan his whole life. He's a tennis journalist and entrepreneur as well as playing tennis to a national standard. He also helps manage his local club and volunteers for his local tennis organisation. He's a specialist in content about the administration of professional tennis and tennis coaching for all levels.