The media and the tennis public show curiosity towards Venus Williams since she is first reported upon widely as an 11 year old with an already vastly developed serve and an astonishing all court game.
Williams and her family move from the Compton, California harsh neighborhood to southern Florida. “They (Venus and Serena) can't get the type of training that they need here at Compton. If I took
her to a Nick Bolletteri or a Rick Macci, where she needs to play a lefty, she could play a lefty.
If she needs someone to play topspin... what she would need,
she could get it at the academy. She can't get it here,” says her father Richard.
Only a few years later at age 14, Williams has grown to nearly 6 feet tall. Teen rival Anna Kournikova originally of Russia but now also living at a Florida tennis camp and Williams sometimes steal glimpses of each other practicing on the tennis court training grounds in southern Florida.
“Kournikova couldn't take more than 1 or 2 games off of her” a tennis magazine reports.
Like a throwback to the yesteryears of the game of tennis, Venus Williams remains standing during changeovers in early 1997 during her months of tennis matches on the WTA Tour as a full time professional. Williams stands up beside her chair courtside all 90 seconds of each changeover each time.
Barbara Schultz of the Netherlands is serve speed record holder until Venus comes along in the late 90s. Williams' 129 miles per hour serve becomes the fastest serve ever hit on the WTA Tour. Schultz, two years ago in her return to the WTA Tour after a break, hits a 130 mph serve in a qualifying match which doesn't technically count as a main draw match so it's off the record books. Speaking of qualifying, as a tour rookie, Williams refuses several tournament maindraw wildcards and enters the qualifying tournaments of several WTA Tour events to get more “match practice.”
Williams moves out of her parents' house and into the same house(s) (Palm Beach Gardens, New York and Los Angeles) as the WTA Tour player who beats her in back to back finals at the French Open, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open; tennis' four most prestigious tournaments; her younger sister Serena Williams in 2002-2003.
In 2007, Wimbledon awards equal prize money for both men and women for the first time ever in part in response to an essay Williams writes and publishes in a London newspaper in 2006 in which she says “Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class.” During the course of her decade long ride at the top of women's tennis, Williams banks an estimated 130 million dollars.
Williams wins the Wimbledon singles title a total of 5 times; more than any active WTA Tour player. Williams announces she would like to play until possibly the 2016 Olympic games. She could possibly catch up with Steffi Graf (7) and the Wimbledon ladies' singles title record holder Martina Navratilova (9).
Williams plays for just her second WTA Tour title of 2008 at Zurich, Switzerland at the Zurich Open versus the unseeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the championship match.