Serena Williams is an American professional tennis player and former world number one. The Women’s Tennis Association ranked her world number one in singles on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 2017. She reached the number one ranking for the first time on July 8, 2002. On her sixth occasion, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf. In total, she has been number one for 319 weeks, which ranks third in the Open Era among female players behind Graf and Martina Navratilova.
Williams holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players. Her 39 major titles put her joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era: 23 in singles, 14 in women’s doubles, and two in mixed doubles. She is the most recent female player to have held all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously and the third player to achieve this twice, after Rod Laver and Graf. She is also the most recent player to have won a Grand Slam title on each surface (hard, clay and grass) in one calendar year. She is also, together with her sister Venus, the most recent player to have held all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles simultaneously.
Her total of 23 Grand Slam singles titles marks the record for the most Grand Slam tournament wins in the Open Era, and is second on the all-time list behind Margaret Court. She has won an all-time record of 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hard court. Williams holds the Open Era record for most titles won at the Australian Open and shares the Open Era record for most titles won at the US Open with Chris Evert. She also holds the all-time record for the most women’s singles matches won at majors with 343 matches.
Williams has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles, all with her sister Venus, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. As a team, she and Venus have the third most women’s doubles Grand Slam titles, behind the 18 titles of Natasha Zvereva (14 with Gigi Fernández) and the record 20 titles won by Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver. Williams is also a five-time winner of the WTA Tour Championships in the singles division. She has also won four Olympic gold medals, one in women’s singles and three in women’s doubles—an all-time record shared with her sister, Venus. The arrival of the Williams sisters has been credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women’s professional tennis tour. She is currently ranked at number nine in the world by the WTA.
She has won the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award four times and in December 2015, she was named Sportsperson of the Year by Sports Illustrated magazine.
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