See how Serena Williams became one of the all-time greats by covering her amazing tennis
Serena Williams was just seven years old when her mother stepped into the tennis club in the suburbs of New York City to tell her that she’d been passed over for a full scholarship into a prestigious women’s college.
Serena was in awe. “I couldn’t understand that,” she recalled. “I was so envious of all the things my mommy was doing — going to college, getting a job, meeting new people.”
By the time she was 17 years old, Serena had moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in modeling and acting, and she was so inspired by the tennis circuit that it was almost a relief to have to give up her dreams of a college scholarship to become a professional tennis player.
That’s another thing: Serena was also a very shy, quiet kid before she became a star. Even now, she’s an introvert who’s more comfortable with her thoughts to herself — in the studio, at dinner parties and at the tennis courts.
But here’s the thing:
The path she walked to get to this point might now define her entire life. For the last three and a half years, the world has watched Serena become a star. She’s won more than $70 million in her career, and she has been ranked as high as No. 1 in the world for more than a year.
It’s a story that began on April 11, 1994, when Serena’s coach, Mark Woodford, called her and told her she had been selected to play in the Australian Open.
Serena Williams celebrates her victory against Marion Bartoli in a third round match in the U.S. Open. (Paul R. Murphy/AP)
“I remember when I heard it,” she said. “I just went crazy. I didn’t really know much about tennis. I didn’t watch much TV. I didn’t know what to expect when I heard it. So, I was really excited.”
She also did not expect her mother, Pat, to join her. Serena had played in just one junior event when she received the news, and it was not a good one. Serena had been in the bottom third of her age group, but her mother made her promise her she would play in the major tournaments.
When she got to