Tennis icon Venus Williams posted a reflective message on her Instagram account on Monday. The seven-time Grand Slam singles champion (five Wimbledon titles, two U.S. Open championships) turned pro in 1994, 28 years ago. During her legendary career, she and little sister Serena Williams changed the game in women’s tennis. They introduced a level of power and athleticism never seen before. Add in their elite tennis minds and they’ve been the face of women’s and especially American tennis for almost three decades. But like little sister who “evolved” away from tennis after this year’s U.S. Open, is Venus hanging up her racquet too?
“On this day 28 years ago I made my debut to professional tennis,” Williams wrote in the caption alongside two photos of her as a 14-year-old at the 1994 Bank of the West Classic, the site of her first WTA match. “I never imagined 28 years later what [Serena Williams] and I would experience in this sport. I can recount the wins and the losses, but in the end it was always about the pursuit of my best self. Every day, win lose or draw. I can look back with no regrets. It’s all been worth it.”
If Venus is indeed hanging it up, what a legendary career. Little sister Serena gets all the headlines, and rightfully so, she is the greatest player of all time. But Venus is no slouch and for a stretch when little sis was dominating in the early 2000s, Venus was the second-best player in the world.
In addition to her seven Grand Slam Singles titles, Venus was a Grand Slam runner-up nine times, including a record five straight, the winner in which each of those was little sister Serena. Let’s say Venus wins a third of those matches, that would give her 10 Grand Slam singles titles. Double digits. Only seven women have won 10 or more Grand Slam singles titles.
As it stands Venus’ seven are tied with Justine Henin. They are more than the totals of tennis greats Althea Gibson, Martina Hingis, Maria Sharapova, Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, Kim Clijsters, Lindsey Davenport, and Jennifer Capriati.
Venus’ seven are more than the totals of active top players Naomi Osaka, Angelique Kerber, and Iga Swiatek.
Venus Williams stands on her own merits and is one of the greatest players of all time. Her ability to persevere and continue on, while her younger sister assaulted the record books and became the GOAT, only adds to her legacy.
Along with her seven singles major titles, Venus has also won 14 women’s doubles major titles, all partnering with Serena. They are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals. Venus also has three Olympic gold medals (’00, ’08, ’12) in women’s doubles with little sister.
Current U.S. tennis star Coco Gauff, who has long credited Venus and Serena for her start in the sport commented “Queen” on the post.
If this is the end for the 42-year-old former world No. 1, it has been one hell of a ride.
Serena Williams retired, we think. Roger Federer retired. Now maybe Venus Williams. Tennis fans have been blessed to witness the greatest era.