Serena Williams, unarguably the greatest tennis player ever — male or female — celebrates her 39th birthday today, and there seems to be no stopping this icon. She has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, which is an Open Era record. She has been ranked No.1 eight times in her career. She is tied with Steffi Graf for holding the Number 1 spot for 186 consecutive weeks. Overall, she has stayed at the top for 319 weeks.
Here we list down Williams‘ Career Highlights
Debut: Serena played her debut match as a wild card entry in October 1995 at the Bell Challenge, but lost in the first match.
First Tour win: Her first main-draw match win came in November, 1995, when she defeated World No. 7 Mary Pierce. She backed it up with a win against World No. 4 Monica Seles.
First title: Serena Williams won her first professional singles title at the Open Gaz de France tournament where she defeated Amélie Mauresmo.
First Grand Slam: Serena defeated Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martínez, Monica Seles and Lindsay Davenport to reach the final of the 1999 US Open. She beat Martina Hingis to win her first grand slam title.
First French Open: In 2002, Serena beat defending champion Capriati in the semifinal match and sister Venus in the final to win her maiden French Open title.
First Wimbledon title and World Number 1: Months after winning the French Open, Serena claimed her first Wimbledon title. She did it without dropping a set. With the win, she earned World No. 1 ranking for the first time.
Career Grand Slam: Serena Williams won the 2003 Australian Open title defeating her older sister in the final to complete a career Grand Slam. At the time, she held all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. The press called it “Serena Slam”.
2007 Australian Open comeback: After going through a phase of injury, Serena clashed against the Australian Open favourite Maria Sharapova in the final. Against all odds, she won the championship. This was her first title in two years.
Second Serena Slam: Serena again won four Grand Slams in a row after winning 2015 Wimbledon.
186 weeks at Number 1: On September 5, 2016, Serena completed 186th consecutive week ranked No. 1, a record shared with Steffi Graf in WTA history.
Most Grand Slams in Open Era: In 2017 Australian Open, Serena won her 23rd Grand Slam Singles title, surpassing Graf’s tally of 22.
Weeks later she announced her pregnancy. She returned to action in 2018 and has been performing close to her best since then. She just missed another shot at the US Open a few weeks ago, after she fell to Belarusian Victoria Azarenka in the semifinals.