venus serena williams
Edwin Martinez1/Wikicommons
  • Faith: Jehovahs Witness
  • Career: Athlete
  • Birthday:  June 17, 1980

The Williams sisters are two professional tennis players: Venus, a seven-time Grand Slam title winner, and Serena, a twenty-three-time Grand Slam title winner, both of whom were coached from an early age by their parents, Richard Williams and Oracene Price. The Williams sisters partake in “one of the elite’ country club’ sports in America,” a sport that wasn’t open to female participation in the past.

Their vast achievements in tennis are comparable to those seen by men, despite women’s involvement in sports as something usual when compared to the former regulations within sports. When sports were introduced as a form of leisurely activity in the United States, many clubs did not allow women to be members. Thus, the success of the Williams sisters is astonishing to the United States, both socially and professionally. Both sisters have been ranked by the Women’s Tennis Association at the world’s No.1 position in both singles and doubles. In 2002, after the French Open, Venus and Serena Williams were ranked world No.1 and No.2 in singles, marking the first time in history that sisters occupied the top two positions.

On June 21, 2010, Serena and Venus again held the No. 1 and No. 2 rankings spots in singles, some eight years after first accomplishing the feat. At the time, Serena was three months shy of her 29th birthday, and Venus had just celebrated her 30th birthday. There was a noted professional rivalry between the sisters in singles between the 2001 US Open and the 2017 Australian Open; they contested nine major finals. They became the first two players, female or male, to contest four consecutive major singles finals, from the 2002 French Open to the 2004 Australian Open. Serena famously won all four to complete the first of two “Serena Slams.”

Between 2000 and 2016, they collectively won 12 Wimbledon singles titles, Venus five and Serena seven. Nonetheless, they remain very close, often watching each other’s matches in support, even after one of them had been knocked out of a tournament. By winning the 2001 Australian Open doubles title, they became the fifth pair of women to complete the career Grand Slam in doubles and the first pair to complete the career Golden Slam in doubles.

At the time, Venus and Serena were only 20 and 19 years old. Since then, they went on to add another two Olympic gold medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics. Moreover, the duo achieved a non-calendar year Grand Slam in double between 2009 Wimbledon and 2010 Roland Garros, which made them the co-No.1 doubles players. Their last major doubles title came at the 2016 Wimbledon Championships.

What religion are Venus and Serena Williams?

The Williams sisters were raised as Jehovah’s Witness, but Serena states she has “never really practiced it.” She usually thanks Jehovah after winning matches. She confirmed that she doesn’t celebrate birthdays, saying, “We’re Jehovah’s Witnesses, so we don’t do that.” In January 2023, almost a year and a half after her retirement, she was baptized as a Jehovah’s Witness in Florida.

Venus still practices the faith as well. When she was asked in an interview how her religious beliefs have helped her throughout her life, the American tennis legend said, “I definitely think it’s made a huge difference in my life. Just so you know, all the girls that I grew up with had hardships that they weren’t able to get through, but I think having a solid family and also solid religious beliefs has helped me and my sister find that stability.” 

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