Venus Williams made an incredible impact on the tennis world at a very young age. She arose from modest beginnings in California to become one of the queens of tennis along with her younger sister, Serena. Venus, at twenty-two years of age, has provided the sports world with many exciting moments in a relatively short period of time. Her amazing athletic ability and muscular physique are recognized and admired all over the world. Venus has rejuvenated the tennis world with her talent, determination, and conviction, all of which may be attributed to a strong work ethic and the tenacity of her father, Richard Williams. The following discussion will provide an introduction into her childhood years, her rise as a world tennis champion, and her positive influence on women all over the world.
History and Background
Venus was born on June 17, 1980 in Lynwood, California, the fourth of five daughters born to Brandi and Richard Williams (Fillon 11). At four years of age, her father began to train her in the game of tennis, and Venus adored the sport. It was often difficult for Richard Williams to keep his daughter away from the court. He knew at an early age that Venus was going to be a star. "I knew she was a champion right away," Richard Williams once said. As Venus approached her adolescent years, she entered many junior tournaments and defeated most of her opponents without any challenges, so her parents decided that she should focus her talents elsewhere, in such important areas as schoolwork. Although Venus was no longer playing competitive tennis, she was widely recognized in the local tennis circuit. Her future coach, Rick Macci, also saw something special in Venus and he hoped to develop her gift in order to take her to the next level, competitive professional tennis tournaments (Fillon 29). Venus entered the professional tennis arena in 1994, at first against her father's wishes. However, Venus was allowed to pursue her dream and played her first professional match in 1995 (Fillon 33). At fourteen years of age, Venus was a towering 6'1" tall and was blessed with raw, unmatched athletic power on the court (Fillon 34). She engaged her fans with her captivating presence and physical appearance, and her braided hair was an engaging aspect of her personality that attracted large crowds. As time passed, Venus began her quest for a Grand Slam title.
Venus Williams' athletic ability was not entirely innate. When she first met Coach Macci, Venus had to study the game of tennis through rigorous practice sessions held six hours a day, six days a week for four years (Fillon 45). Venus was also engaged in such training mechanisms as Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, boxing, football, soccer, and hula hoop practice (Fillon 45). Venus was committed to her athleticism and grace on the court, and she would perform any tasks necessary to achieve her goals.
As Venus began her entrance into the world of Grand Slam events, she would modify her famous hairstyle based upon the location of the tournament. For Wimbledon 1997, Venus wore green and purple beads in her hair to match the colors of the event, and she was engaged in an unforeseen controversy regarding her hairstyle. Venus was not discouraged by the fear that her beads would potentially interfere with one of her matches. However, she lost Wimbledon that year in the first round (Fillon 53). Nonetheless, her determination was stronger than ever, and she began to climb in the world rankings
By the year 2000, Venus and her sister Serena were ranked numbers three and four in the women's professional rankings, respectively (Morgan 53). During this time, Venus was diagnosed with Tendonitis in the wrists and was forced to withdraw from the Australian Open (Morgan 54). During her short break from tennis, Venus concentrated on her studies and enrolled at Palm Beach Community College (Morgan 54). Venus was very interested in fashion design and she thought about a future career in fashion upon her eventual retirement from professional tennis.
Venus recovered in time to enter the annual Wimbledon tournament, and eventually met her sister Serena in a quarterfinal match (Morgan 56). Venus defeated Serena and eventually won the tournament. Venus and Serena would end up playing each other in many matches, and it was always difficult for Venus to compete against her sister. "I felt sad because I'm the big sister and I'm supposed to take care of her. It's really bitter, but someone has to move on. Serena is a real competitor, even more than I am, so this really hurts her deep" (Morgan 57). To culminate an already successful year, Venus earned a gold medal when she represented the United States ad the 2002 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia (Morgan 60). Venus continues to accumulate honors and recognition in the tennis world, including a lengthy appearance as the number one ranked women's tennis player in the world.
Character Traits and Aspirations
Venus Williams has possessed determination, strength, courage, and confidence for most of her life, and these qualities are demonstrated in her work on and off the court. Venus has always been firmly established in her roots as a girl who was raised under modest circumstances in an African-American culture. Her family moved frequently when she was a child, and she eventually settled in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with her parents and siblings (Fillon 32). During her beginnings on the professional tennis circuit, Venus would visit local schools and exhibit her charm and intelligence to students through motivational speeches (Fillon 35). In addition, the Williams family has always possessed a deep belief in religion, and this is demonstrated through her attendance at religious events and meetings on a weekly basis (Morgan 57). Venus possesses a unique combination of raw talent and skill coupled with a deeply embedded set of core values that ultimately provide her with many victories, both on and off the court.
Natural Athleticism and Skill
Venus Williams has attracted the attention of millions of tennis fans sine her emergence on the professional tennis circuit in the 1990s. Her physical strength and agility is unmatched in the sport, and she possesses the ability to conquer many of her female opponents with her instinct and inherent speed. Venus also possesses the ability to serve at 120 miles per hour (Wiley 3), and she can outmaneuver many of her opponents with her flexibility and exceptional skills with the racket and the volley (Wiley 3). However, her physical talents are not limited to the sport of tennis. Venus is also skilled at in-line skating, basketball, and surfing. Her physical attributes have provided her with unlimited accomplishment and prestige that will continue for many years to come.
Influence on Women and Sports
Venus Williams is admired by women all over the world because of her natural talent and winning record in the sport that she adores. Her engaging record in Grand Slam events has provided many fans with thrills and excitement, and matches in which she is coupled with her sister Serena garner a great deal of attention and praise. Furthermore, because she has accomplished so many significant achievements at a young age, she has attracted the attention of many children and young adults, who aspire to achieve similar results in their lives. According to her sister Serena, "Venus can do whatever she wants to do" (Wiley 2). Although she is only twenty-two years of age, Venus has many years left to continue to leave her mark on the tennis community as well as other uncharted waters, including fashion design. With her confidence and determination, Venus' interest in fashion will likely result in a future career upon retirement from the tennis profession. Venus will continue to influence…