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Venus Williams| BHM

Graphics by BINK

COMPTON, CA — She is the daughter of a Louisiana sharecropper who was determined to see his two youngest girls succeed in life. Residence of the deep south have never known an abundance of opportunity and as the preseeding Quaker once did, Richard Williams moved his family West to Compton, California where tennis books and old Wimbledon videos would serve as a training manual to one of the greatest Women’s Tennis Careers ever.

October 1994, Venus would make her pro debut at the Bank of the West Classic in Oakland, California and the youthful age of fourteen.  Due to the Women’s Tennis Council of the World Tennis Association, regulations the young Venus was prohibited from turning pro, in lieu to her professional competitive appearances. Not until two years later would the newly eligible Venus return to the pro-Tennis circuit to compete at the Acura Classic in Manhattan Beach, California. It didn’t take long before the unlikely prodigy would live out her legacy, when on February 25, 2002 Venus Williams became the first African-American Woman to become the World No. 1 tennis player during the Open Era. Willaims would go on the hold the No. 1 ranking on three separate occasions.

Williams has been credited for changing the landscape of Women’s tennis and ushering  a reformed era of power and athleticism.


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