Serena Williams is Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling

How Serena Williams rewrote the playbook for female athletes juggling motherhood and sport


Serena Williams, a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion and the most decorated female athlete in history, is breaking through a glass ceiling.

She is a household name, an iconic icon. She is a superstar, and in the months since she won her first Grand Slam title in January, she has appeared on television news shows, appeared on magazine covers and has become ubiquitous.

Williams was born in 1984 and started playing tennis at age three. She moved from her hometown of Atlanta to New York and began playing at the age of seven. She began taking lessons from her mother at age 11, then took up playing tennis at 14 years old. She played at the same high school tennis club as the likes of Serena and Venus Williams.

The two had been roommates growing up and they are now roommates. It was while playing tennis at that high school that Williams’ game started coming alive. She continued to move up in ranking and was ranked among the top players in the world. She did not go to college, but worked on her game during the off-season and began competing overseas at age 17. She made her first WTA Tour match in 2007 at the age of 20. She has since won nine singles titles, including the Australian Open in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

She has made an estimated $4.8 billion (about 3.7 billion euros) in prize money. Williams remains the single largest earner in the world of tennis, despite her own struggles with mental health.

When Williams won her first Grand Slam singles title, she was the world’s most successful female athlete. When she retired in 2016, she was the second-most successful, trailing only Michael Phelps.

Williams had a difficult relationship with her mother. For many years, she did not discuss her mental health struggles publicly, which made it difficult for people to understand the pressures she faced. She was able to speak about them in her book, “Serena: A Total Life.”

“I was very lucky to have a support system growing up,” said Williams. “My mother was never really supportive of my playing tennis and coaching. But once I started my own

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