Venus Williams, full name Venus Ebony Starr Williams, was an American tennis player who reinvented the sport with her sister Serena. Venus was born in Lynwood, California, on June 17, 1980.

Venus’ father, who also introduced her sister Serena to the sport and guided her development, took Venus to play tennis on public courts in Los Angeles. She became a professional in 1994, and her strong serves and ground strokes quickly gained recognition. The first unseeded U.S. Open women’s finalist in the open era, she was defeated by Martina Hingis in 1997. Williams won the Wimbledon and U.S. Open in 2000. Then in 2001, she successfully defended her titles.

Venus Williams, as well as Serena Williams

Williams won the gold medal in the singles category and the gold medal in the doubles competition at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. Venus lost to Serena in the French Open, U.S. Open, and Wimbledon finals in 2002, but Venus won the Wimbledon title in 2005. She had trouble with injuries the next year and played in only a few competitions, but she went on to win her fourth Wimbledon in 2007. Venus overcame Serena in 2008 to win her fifth Wimbledon title, moving her to fifth place all-time in the women’s Wimbledon singles competition. The Williams sisters won a gold medal in tennis doubles at the Olympics the following year, this time in Beijing. They re-met in the Wimbledon finals the next year, with Serena winning this time.

Despite losing more matches in the following years, Venus still managed to win 49 tournaments in 2016. It wasn’t until the 2017 Australian Open that she competed in a Grand Slam singles final, where Serena defeated her. Later the following year, Venus competed in the Wimbledon finals but lost.