19 Years Ago: Venus Williams Created History in Tennis

Published 02/25/2021, 1:53 PM EST
Venus Williams of the United States celebrates defeating Laura Siegemund of Germany during her third round Women’s Singles match on Day Six of the 2016 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 3, 2016 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)


Fans are quite aware of the inspiring story of Serena and Venus Williams. Their journey and records have been not just admiring but also a model to follow for other players. However, only a few know that something quite unique happened on this date today exactly 19 years ago when Venus created history in tennis.

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On 25th February 2002, Venus Williams became the first-ever African-American person to reach the top spot in WTA or ATP rankings. She ended the previous year at the No.2 spot and soon climbed to the top position in the early part of 2002.

The senior Williams had already won four Grand Slams before becoming the World No.1 player. She won the Wimbledon Championships and US Open title in 2000 and 2001. Interestingly, she is the only WTA player who rose to the top spot after winning four majors. All the others managed to do so after winning three just Grand Slams or even less.

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Venus Williams of the U.S. in action during her second-round match against Italy’s Sara Errani REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

In the twelve months before she became the World No.1 player, Williams won 56 out of her 61 matches. Her dream run came in the summer of 2001 when she went on to win San Diego, New Haven, and the US Open title. Surprisingly, she won 32 out of the 33 sets in that run.

“Just feel like I deserve it”- Venus Williams in a press conference in 2002

Just before Williams rose to the No.1 spot in the rankings in 2002, she highlighted that she was so happy even though she became the top player, after winning four majors. She even admitted that she really deserved that place in the press conference.

Venus Williams plays a forehand during her match against Serena Williams during Top Seed Open – Day 4 at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

“I think that if I had been No. 1 in the world and had not won any Grand Slams, it would be less of a significance. But having won Grand Slams, that really just makes it a lot more enjoyable, and I just feel like I deserve it,” said Williams.

What is even more fascinating is that Williams still continues to dominate the game to some extent. She was in the top 5 players’ list until 2018 and still plays some aggressive and attacking tennis.

Venus Williams is 40 right now and age is certainly an obstacle in her path. However, she still gives her 100 percent on the court and continues to entertain her fans. Will Williams be able to win another title before her retirement?

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Anshul Singh

801 articles

Anshul Singh is a tennis author at EssentiallySports, currently pursuing Journalism Honors from Delhi University. Having significant experience with content, Anshul has authored over 500 tennis articles. He has previously worked as a writer and an editor for DU Express, penning riveting articles on sports, politics, and culture.

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