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American professional tennis player Serena Williams has won 27 Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon and five Australian Open championships, and several Olympic gold medals.
Arthur Ashe - Mini Biography (3:35)
Serena Williams was only 3 years old when she and her sister, Venus, started playing tennis. Since turning pro, she's won countless Grand Slam titles and two Olympic gold medals.
Arthur Ashe was the first African-American male to win men's single titles at Wimbledon. Off the court, he became an anti-apartheid activist and brought attention to HIV/AIDs before succumbing to the disease in 1993.
A short biography on Althea Gibson, the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament. After retiring, she became the first African-American on the Ladies Professional Golf Association circuit.
A full biography of Martina Navratilova.
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With their signature style and play, Venus and Serena changed the look of their sport as well. Their sheer power and athletic ability overwhelmed opponents, and their sense of style and presence made them stand-out celebrities on the court.
Proving to have much more than just tennis clout, Serena expanded her brand into film, television, and fashion. She developed her own "Aneres" line of clothing,
and in 2002 People magazine selected her as one of its 25 Most Intriguing People. Essence magazine later called her one of the country's 50 Most Inspiring African-Americans. She's also made television appearances, and lent her voice to shows such as The Simpsons.
In 2002, she won the French Open, the U.S. Open, and Wimbledon, defeating Venus in the finals of each tournament. She captured her first Australian Open in 2003, making her one of only five women players to have complete grand slam sets. The win also fulfilled her desire to finish off what she'd dubbed "The Serena Slam." In 2008, she won the U.S. Open and teamed with Venus to capture a second women's doubles Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games.
But Serena has had her scrapes and losses. In 2003, her sister Yetunde Price was murdered in Los Angeles, California. Three years later, Serena seemed burned out. Bitten by injuries, and just a general lack of motivation to stay fit or compete at the same level she once had, Serena saw her tennis ranking slump to 139.
Serena credits her faith as a Jehovah's Witness, as well as a life-changing journey she made to West Africa for renewing her pride and competitive fire. By 2009, Williams had released a new autobiography, Queen of the Court, and won her place back atop the world's rankings, winning both the 2009 Australian Open singles (for the fourth time) and Wimbledon 2009 singles (for the third time). She also won the doubles matches at both the Australian Open and Wimbledon that year.
But not everything went smoothly. Williams made headlines in September of that year, when she blasted a lineswomen for a foot-fault called near the end of a semi-final loss to eventual champion Kim Clijsters at the U.S. Open. The profanity-laced outburst included finger pointing and, according to the lineswoman, an alleged threat from Serena against her life.
Williams downplayed what happened, refuting the allegation that she'd threatened the woman. But the incident did not go over well with the tennis viewing public, nor the U.S. Tennis Association, which fined her $10,000 on the spot. Two months later, she was placed on two-year probation and ordered to pay another $82,500 to the Grand Slam committee for the episode&mdashthe largest punishment ever levied against a tennis player.
By early 2010, however, Serena was doing her best to move past the incident, gearing up for the upcoming Australian Open. Sure enough, in 2010, she won the Australian Open singles and doubles matches, as well as her fourth Wimbledon singles championship.
In 2011, Williams suffered a series of health scares, after doctors found a blood clot in one of her lungs, which kept her away from tennis for several months.
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