See how Serena Williams became one of the all-time greats
On the road: The world’s most famous athlete gets lost in a hotel bar, gets a little too into the moment, and finds out that being the best is not as easy as it sounds.
RICHARD K. JOHNSON, HOST:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I’m Richard K. Johnson and if you’re just joining us, I’m Serena Williams.
Serena Williams is a seven-time Grand Slam champion. That includes eight Wimbledon titles. She also has more than 600 career doubles titles. This is a great tale of American women’s tennis. She took over the sport when she was only 17 and became the youngest woman ever inducted into the United States Tennis Association Hall of Fame, also known as the Hall of Bats. Serena Williams is now 41. But this story starts when she was three years old. That is, she was in the womb and she wasn’t around to raise an objection.
Serena Williams was raised in a suburb of Atlanta by African American parents. Her mother, Judy, was a teacher and her father, Roger, was an accountant. Serena said her parents encouraged her to play in the streets and to explore her world. And so she did. On Sept. 22, 1975, Serena won her first tennis title, at the International Lawn Tennis Challenge in Newport, Rhode Island.
Serena Williams beat Chris Evert, which earned her the $25,000 prize. In a second match she beat Judith Wiesner. Wiesner was part of a team that included Rosie Casals of the Netherlands that swept the women’s doubles competition that day. Serena Williams’ mother was watching, on an antenna outside their house, one day when she thought she heard her daughter say, “I’m going to win, Mom.” That’s when Serena’s parents knew they wanted to have a child. They had wanted one all along. But they had not known when.
They got pregnant and moved to Connecticut. Serena was born in 1976. The parents divorced two years