Best Known For
Venus Williams rose from a tough childhood in Compton, Los Angeles to become a champion women's tennis player and four-time Olympic gold medalist.
Watch the trailer for the documentary "Venus and Serena" about the Williams' sisters famed tennis career.
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.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Venus Williams was born on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. Her father was a former sharecropper who introduced Williams to tennis on the public courts near Compton, LA. She turned pro in 1994, and has since won seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships, as well as four Olympic gold medals (three with her sister, Serena). Williams lives in Palm Beach, Florida.
American tennis player Venus Ebony Starr Williams was born on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California. One of Richard and Oracene Williams' five daughters, Venus, along with her younger sister, Serena, has redefined women's tennis with her strength and superb athleticism. Since turning pro in 1994, Venus has captured seven Grand Slam titles, including five Wimbledon championships, joining Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf as the only women to have accomplished this.
Venus was introduced to tennis by her father on the public courts in Los Angeles, not far from the family's home in Compton. Richard Williams, a former sharecropper from Louisiana, used what he'd gleaned from tennis books and videos to instruct his girls on the different aspects of the game.
The fact that the family had relocated to Compton was no accident. With its high rate of gang activity, Richard Williams had wanted to expose his daughters to the ugly possibilities of life "if they did not work hard and get an education." In this setting, on courts that were riddled with potholes and sometimes missing nets, Venus and Serena cut their teeth on the game of tennis and the requirements for persevering in a tough climate.
By the age of 10, Williams's serve topped 100 miles per hour, a weapon she used to go 63-0 on the United States Tennis Association junior tour. On October 31, 1994, she turned pro, something she proved she was more than ready for when, in her first match, she beat 50-seeded Shaun Stafford at the Bank of the West Classic in California.
It was a momentous occasion for the Williams family, Richard in particular, who wasn't afraid to let the tennis world know that his girls were going to change the game. "That's one for the ghetto!" he shouted out at the press conference following Williams's victory.
In 1997, Williams became the first unseeded U.S. Open women's finalist in the Open era. She lost to Martina Hingis. In 2000, she won both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, paving the way for her to ink a $40 million contract with Reebok. She then went out and defended her titles in 2001.
At the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, Williams captured the gold medal in the singles competition, and then took a second one with Serena in the doubles event. The sisters have credited the other with pushing them in tennis, both as teammates and as competitors. Together, the pair have won 10 Grand Slam doubles titles and have squared off more than 20 times, including the finals of eight Grand Slam tournaments. In addition to their time spent together on the court, the sisters also share a home together in Florida.
profile name: Venus Williams profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Did you know that since 1912, nearly 50 million girls in the United States have joined the Girl Scouts? Girl Scouts helped an amazingly diverse array of famous women develop a strong foundation of courage, confidence and character. It's no surprise then that quite a few famous women spent time in the sash. Celebrities who got their start selling cookies and earning merit badges include Wonder Woman star Lynda Carter and actress/writer Carrie Fisher; former first ladies Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan; Olympic skaters Bonnie Blair and Peggy Fleming; astronaut Sally Ride; and iconic women's rights activist Gloria Steinem. Browse our collection of inspiring famous Girl Scouts who have certainly earned merit badges in their fields.
Girl Scouts 45 people in this group
Although one could argue that these famous folks’ personalities are otherworldly, it’s a fact that their names are generally down to earth. From the conventionally monikered Natalie Wood to the very original Muddy Waters, here’s our list of famous people whose names give homage to the elements and beyond.
Elementals 34 people in this group
They've sprinted, served, batted, slam-dunked and TKO'd their way into sports history. Sprinter Jesse Owens's Olympic triumphs put Hitler to shame. Basketball star Michael Jordan taught kids that they could fly. Gymnast Gabby Douglas showed that champions can come in pint-size packages, and Tiger Woods brought the game of golf to another level. Explore biographies of famous black athletes who broke records and barriers and, ultimately, captured our imaginations.
Famous Black Athletes 159 people in this group