Venus, left, and Serena Williams in 1994.NewsBase, via Associated Press
First Family of Tennis
On Saturday, Serena Williams bested her older sister Venus to win her seventh Australian Open singles title. It was her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, a new record in the Open era (Venus has seven Grand Slam singles titles).
The first Williams sister appeared in our pages on July 3, 1990. “At a time when tennis prodigies seem to be surfacing every week, the latest hot prospect is a 10-year-old Californian, Venus Williams,” was the lead paragraph of a short article. There was also a mention of her 8-year-old sister, Serena. A little over five years later, we covered Serena’s first match as a 14-year-old professional, which ended in a defeat.
Since then, we’ve published tens of thousands of words and hundreds of photos of the Williamses, who grew up in Compton, a low-income city outside Los Angeles, and have been a dominant force in a mostly white “country-club” sport. Their father, Richard, once called Venus the “ghetto Cinderella.”
Here are some of the chapters of that Cinderella story: