First African American woman to become ranked as the World No. 1 in the Open Era
"Venus Williams is an American professional tennis player who is currently ranked world No. 8 in the WTA singles rankings. She is generally regarded as one of the all-time greats of women's tennis and, along with younger sister Serena Williams, is credited with ushering in a new era of power and athleticism on the women's professional tennis tour.
Williams has been ranked world No. 1 by the Women's Tennis Association on three occasions, for a total of 11 weeks. She first became the world No. 1 on February 25, 2002, the first African American woman to do so in the Open Era. Her seven Grand Slam singles titles puts her in a tie for 12th on the all-time list, and a tie for 8th on the Open Era list, more than any other active female player except her sister Serena. In total she has reached sixteen Grand Slam finals, the most recent being the finals at Wimbledon in 2017. She has also won 14 Grand Slam Women's doubles titles, all with her sister Serena, and the pair are unbeaten in Grand Slam doubles finals; Venus also has two Mixed doubles titles. Her five Wimbledon singles titles ties her with two other women for eighth place on the all-time list, but gives her sole possession of No. 4 on the Open Era List, only trailing Navratilova's 9 titles and Serena's and Graf's 7 titles. From the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2001 US Open, Williams won four of the six Grand Slam singles tournaments held. At the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, Williams extended her record as the all-time leader, male or female, in Grand Slams played, with 75. Williams's run to the 2017 Wimbledon singles final also broke the record for time elapsed between first and most recent grand slam singles finals appearances.
Williams has won four Olympic gold medals, one in singles and three in women's doubles, along with a silver medal in mixed doubles. Venus also holds the record for the most Olympic medals won by a male or female tennis player, shared with Kathleen McKane Godfree. She is the only tennis player to have won a medal at four separate Olympic Games. At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Williams became only the second player to win Olympic gold medals in both singles and doubles at the same Olympic Games, after Helen Wills Moody in 1924.
With 49 singles titles, Williams is behind only Serena among active players on the WTA Tour. Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final is the longest since January 1, 2000. She is also one of only three active WTA players to have made the finals of all four Grand Slams, along with Serena and Russian Maria Sharapova.
Despite years of protesting by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, in 2005 the French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay women's and men's players equally through all rounds. In 2005, Williams met with officials from both tournaments, arguing that female tennis players should be paid as much as male tennis players. Although WTA tour President Larry Scott commented that she left "a very meaningful impression", Williams's demands were rejected.
The turning point was an essay published in The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006. In it, Williams accused Wimbledon of being on the "wrong side of history"...
In response, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and members of Parliament publicly endorsed Williams's arguments. Later that year, the Women's Tennis Association and UNESCO teamed for a campaign to promote gender equality in sports, asking Williams to lead the campaign. Under enormous pressure, Wimbledon announced in February 2007 that it would award equal prize money to all competitors in all rounds, and the French Open followed suit a day later. In the aftermath, the Chicago Sun-Times cited Williams as "the single factor" that "changed the minds of the boys" and a leader whose "willingness to take a public stand separates her not only from most of her female peers, but also from our most celebrated male athletes." Williams herself commented, "Somewhere in the world a little girl is dreaming of holding a giant trophy in her hands and being viewed as an equal to boys who have similar dreams."
Venus herself became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the 2007 tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer. Venus's fight for equality was documented in Nine for IX, Venus Vs. It premiered on July 2, 2013.
In 2005 Tennis Magazine ranked her as the 25th-best player in 40 years.
In June 2011, she was named one of the "30 Legends of Women's Tennis: Past, Present and Future" by Time.
In March 2012, Tennis Channel aired a television series "100 greatest tennis players of all time", where she was ranked as 22nd. During the programme Williams was complimented by rival Lindsay Davenport, with Davenport saying 'Venus had more power than any other player on tour'." (1)