► 1999: first Grand Slam title
At 18, Serena Williams burst onto the scene by winning the US Open. The first of his 23 grand slam victories. One title from the record held since the 1970s by Australian Margaret Smith Court. In New York, the young American beat the world number one, the Swiss Martina Hingis, in the final, and definitely made her mark on the professional circuit, joining in 1995 at the age of 14.
► 2002: at the top of world tennis
After a defeat in the final of the 2001 US Open against her older sister, Venus, Serena Williams will crush the 2002 season and will definitely pose as the best of the siblings. That year, the youngest won Roland-Garros, Wimbledon then the US Open, each time against her sister. By winning the Australian Open in early 2003, she even achieved her first “Serena slam”: accumulation of four major titles over two years.
In July 2002, the prodigy reached the world number one spot for the first time. The right-hander will spend 319 weeks on the throne in her career; only surpassed by Steffi Graf (377) and Martina Navratilova (332).
► 2008: back to the fore
After seasons plagued by injuries, the Michigan native returned to the top in September 2008, more than five years after giving up first place, with another victory at the US Open. Serena Williams opens a new page of domination: in 2009 and 2010, she will raise four of the seven major tournaments disputed.
► 2012: the historic “golden slam”
The end of his 2012 season touches perfection and puts him definitively in history. Still winner of Wimbledon and the US Open, the now 30-year-old won her first – and only – Olympic gold medal in singles, at the London Olympics. Making her the first player since the German Steffy Graff to achieve the “golden slam” by registering her name on the list of the four Grand Slams and the Olympics. In doubles, Serena Williams will win the gold medal three times (2000, 2008 and 2012), each time with her sister Venus.
► 2015: the last “Serena slam”
Twelve years after having succeeded for the first time, Serena Williams won again in four consecutive major tournaments, straddling the 2014 and 2015 seasons. A series that allows her to consolidate her rank in the annals of her sport. In 2017, she ticked her 23e and last grand slam. Since then, and despite four finals, she has never managed to grab the ultimate title which allowed her to equal record holder Margaret Smith Court.
► 2022: the last game
On September 2, 2022, the legend bowed out, beaten by Australian Ajla Tomljanovic (46th in the world) 7-5, 6-7 (4/7), 6-1 in the third round of the US Open, after a struggle strenuous for more than three hours. Closing 27 years on the professional circuit by this tournament where she had won her first major title.
In tears, lip service, Serena Williams announces that we would probably never see her again on the tennis courts, where she has built one of the most prolific careers in all sports. At the question “Are you going to reconsider your decision to retire? »the 23-time Grand Slam champion responds “I don’t think so, but you never know”.
“It has been an incredible journey”she launched, moved. “Thank you dad, I know you’re watching, thank you mom (who was present in the stands), thank you to all the people who have supported me all this time, my God it’s been decades”she says, before completely bursting into tears, referring to her older sister: “I wouldn’t be Serena if it wasn’t for Venus, so thank you Venus”.