Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Reagan. Reagan Wonders, “Who is Serena Williams?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Reagan!

Have you ever played a game of singles? How about doubles? Maybe you’ve played in a match that was a double bagel or served a shot with backspin. If you know any of these terms, you may be a tennis player. And if so, you’ll recognize the name at the center of today’s Wonder of the Day—Serena Williams!

Who is Serena Williams? Only one of the greatest tennis players of all time! Williams was born on September 26, 1981, in Saginaw, Michigan. Her family soon moved to Compton, California. There, Williams grew up with four older sisters.

By the time she was three, Williams’s father was teaching her to play tennis. Along with her sister, Venus, Serena quickly showed a talent for the sport. The two practiced tennis daily on Compton’s public courts.

When Serena was nine, the Williams family moved to Palm Beach, Florida. There, Serena and Venus both began playing against other junior tennis players. At that time, they also started working with a new coach. Their father, Richard Williams, had coached them until that point.

Serena became a professional tennis player in 1995. Right away, she was seen as an upcoming star. She proved herself on the court, and in 1999, Serena won her first Grand Slam in singles. In tennis, a Grand Slam is when a player wins all four major titles in the same year. This includes the Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and U.S. Open.

For the next several years, Serena dominated women’s tennis. She also teamed up with Venus, who is a top professional tennis player herself. The two won gold in women’s tennis doubles at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

The Williams sisters won gold again in the Olympic women’s tennis doubles in 2008 and 2012. In 2012, Serena also won gold in women’s singles. Despite injuries in the early 2000s, she continued to win. 

In 2017, Serena achieved her 23rd Grand Slam. Later, the tennis player revealed that she was pregnant when she achieved this feat. In September of that year, she gave birth to a daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian, Jr. 

In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Serena Williams is also an entrepreneur. In 2009, she and Venus both became part owners of the Miami Dolphins. They are the first Black women to own part of a professional football team. 

Serena has always been passionate about fashion. In 2018, she launched her own clothing line, called S. She added a jewelry line in 2019. Williams also invests in companies that value diverse leadership. She does so through her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.

Today, Serena Williams lives in Florida with her husband, Alexis Ohanian, Sr., and their daughter. She returned to tennis in 2018 and still plays professionally.

Most would agree that Serena Williams is one of the top athletes of her time. What other athletes are you interested in? Spend more time learning about your sports heroes today!

Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.SL.3, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.W.2, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.L.2, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.SL.2

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