Serena and Venus Williams are champions on and off the court

Serena and Venus Williams are champions on and off the court
February 23
00:00 2017

History being made has defined Serena and Venus Williams since they started playing tennis as children. While neither was born in Compton California, their family moved there when they were youngsters. Venus, who is older, was born in Lynwood, California and Serena was born in Saginaw, Michigan.

Their parents, Richard and Oracene Williams, were their initial coaches. The Williams sisters began their ascent to greatness at East Compton Park Tennis Courts in Compton, California. Richard and Oracene Williams did not have a traditional tennis background.

What they did have was a strong belief that their daughters could excel in the sport of tennis. When you think about this scenario, it is even more remarkable as Serena and Venus could have excelled in any academic pursuit or sport. They chose tennis.

When Venus was 10 years old and Serena a bit younger, their family moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. There, they were students at the Rick Macci Tennis Academy. It was the wisdom and discernment their parents had to make this type of cross country move. Think about it! The entire family made a major geographical move with the belief that Serena and Venus had a future in tennis.

The Williams Sisters became a dominant force on the tennis courts. At one point, Venus was 63-0 on the USTA (United States Tennis Association) Junior Tour. Serena’s dominance was just as great.

Their list of accomplishments is awe inspiring. For example, Venus has won five Wimbledon titles and little sister, Serena has won seven Wimbledon titles. They have won on all surfaces in convincing fashion. Their titles include singles, doubles and mixed doubles championships.

In their championship run, they have represented the USA in the Olympics and have won four gold medals. In all, Venus and Serena Williams have won over 100 singles titles. Oh my!

While some may debate this point, I don’t know if there has ever been another more formidable family duo and there seems to be no end in sight. In January, Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam tennis title as she lifted the Australian Open Trophy. Even if you are a casual tennis and\or sports fan, you know that she defeated her sister, Venus in the final. This is just incredible!

Serena has now won seven Australian Open titles which is a record. She now goes ahead of Steffi Graf for the most major titles in the Open era.

There is one last record that Serena will achieve in the future. Australian Margaret Court won 24 major titles however thirteen of those titles came before the Open era which began in 1968.

So, I believe she will win another major title sooner and not later. Serena Williams is 35 years of age and still playing at a very high level. She is as quick as a cat and the power in her serve rivals the serves of some professional male tennis players.

Almost lost in her 23rd Grand Slam major victory is the fact she regained her Number 1 ranking. Angelique Kerber from Germany had been ranked number 1 since September 2016. Before that time, Serena Williams had been ranked Number 1 in the world for 186 consecutive weeks. Are you kidding me! If you follow the sport like I do, the only person that can beat Serena Williams is Serena Williams.

So, you had in the first Grand Slam major of the season (Australian Open) the Williams Sisters both in their middle 30s. After winning, Serena said, “This was a tough one.” She added, “I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus, she’s an amazing person; she’s my inspiration.”

The “amazing person” comment made about Venus by Serena is most appropriate. Venus Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome in 2011. Through medication, Venus is back to her winning ways. Rest assured, we have not heard the last from Venus Ebony Starr Williams on the tennis courts.

In the next few months, the French Open will be held in Paris, France at the famous Roland Garros Tennis Courts. Venus and Serena have experienced success there.

You can run out of superlatives talking about the Williams Sisters. We are experiencing history right in front of our eyes. Some years ago, I had the opportunity to take a picture with Serena and to meet her parents. Watching the Williams Sisters practice was truly a highlight for me.

The Williams Sisters have been successful both on and off the court. They are role models for sure; so parents and love providers have your daughters study them.

When they make the International Tennis Hall of Fame, there should be a place for their parents. Richard and Oracene Williams deserve to be there. They have raised their daughters to be champions on and off the court.

James B. Ewers  Jr. Ed.D. is a former tennis champion at Atkins High School in Winston-Salem and played college tennis at Johnson C. Smith University, where he was all-conference for four years. He is a retired college administrator.  He can be reached at

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