Venus and Serena Williams
"This is what any sport wants. It's the Tiger Woods effect. They're not just transcending their sport, but transcending all sports, and it's a very powerful phenomenon."--Pam Shriver, tennis analyst and former pro player
In the decades since Althea Gibson and Arthur Ashe left their indelible marks on the tennis world, two African-American sisters are creating waves not seen since their predecessors. Venus and Serena Williams have taken the tennis world by storm since making their respective 1994 and 1995 debuts-- and they're showing no signs of slowing down. Combined, the siblings have won nearly 40 WTA tennis singles titles, 5 Grand Slams, and have a combined record of 397 to 97.
Born to Richard and Oracene Williams in 1980 and 1981, Venus and Serena Williams were introduced to tennis at an early age. Father Richard admits that from birth he groomed the girls to become tennis players--and it did not take long for them to begin showing promise. At the age of 10 Venus had won nearly 20 junior tournaments in California and Serena was not far behind. But in an unprecedented move, Richard decided against entering his daughters into the WTA Junior circuit, an establishment he criticized for chewing up and players and spitting them out. He opted instead to coach the girls himself. Though controversial, his decision seems to have paid off because the sisters' have virtually claimed tennis as their own.