Classic Photos of Serena Williams

From her humble beginnings, Serena Williams has climbed to the top of the tennis world. Here are some rare photos of the woman Billie Jean King says is the best player in tennis history. - Ken Levine/Getty Images
1 of 116 Ken Levine/Getty Images
Serena Williams playing tennis in Florida in 1992. - Ken Levine/Getty Images
2 of 116 Ken Levine/Getty Images
Growing up in Compton, Calif., Serena worked tirelessly with Venus and their father to hone her skills. - Paul Harris/Online USA/Getty Images
4 of 116 Paul Harris/Online USA/Getty Images
Their California roots got Serena and Venus a photo op with President Ronald Reagan and wife, Nancy. - Getty Images
5 of 116 Getty Images
All five of the Williams sisters were exposed to tennis at an early age, but Serena and Venus seemed to display the most interest and strongest prospects. - Ken Levine/Getty Images
7 of 116 Ken Levine/Getty Images
In 1992, Serena, then 10, and Venus, then 12, stunned the tennis world when they each won their single divisions in the Southern California Junior Sectional Championships. - Ken Levine/Getty Images
8 of 116 Ken Levine/Getty Images
After several years living in Compton, Richard Williams relocated the family to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to enroll Serena and Venus in Rick Macci's renown tennis academy. - Ken Levine/Getty Images
10 of 116 Ken Levine/Getty Images
Serena was on hand for Venus's pro debut at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena in October 1994. The family, including mom Oracene, are pictured here before that event. - Brad Mangin for Sports Illustrated
11 of 116 Brad Mangin for Sports Illustrated
Serena was in Venus's shadow for several years, but has matured into the more accomplished player. - Action Images/Icon SMI
13 of 116 Action Images/Icon SMI
At 17, Serena became the first African-American woman since Althea Gibson to win a Grand Slam title. - Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
14 of 116 Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams

Venus and Serena, pictured here with Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles, helped lead the U.S. in its 4-1 Federation Cup victory against Russia in 1999. - John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images
16 of 116 John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images
The sisters got in touch with their patriotic side during a 2000 photo shoot for SI. Serena has won four Olympic medals while representing the U.S., three in doubles and the other in singles. - Gerard Rancinan for Sports Illustrated
17 of 116 Gerard Rancinan for Sports Illustrated
Despite their undeniable skills and stockpile of titles, the Williams sisters have been accused of slacking off when pitted against each other in competition. Venus and Serena have vehemently denied those claims. Serena leads the head-to-head series 14-11 through August 2014. - Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
19 of 116 Manny Millan for Sports Illustrated
Serena lost in hair-raising fashion in the quarterfinals of the first three majors in 2001, but made the final of the U.S. Open, which she lost to Venus. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
20 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Serena capped off a busy 2001 by carrying the Olympic torch in the leadup to the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. - Todd Warshaw/Pool/Getty Images
22 of 116 Todd Warshaw/Pool/Getty Images
Julie Foudy, Summer Sanders and Serena appeared with Ronald McDonald at the World Children's Day Event in New York City in November 2002. - Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images
23 of 116 Lawrence Lucier/Getty Images
Serena created a stir when she competed in this cat suit at the 2002 U.S. Open. - Chuck Solomon for Sports Illustrated
25 of 116 Chuck Solomon for Sports Illustrated
Serena's appearance on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno coincided with her inclusion in the SI Swimsuit issue. - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
26 of 116 Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Serena's swimsuit poses didn't stop with SI. Here she poses during a December shoot. - Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
28 of 116 Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
Serena had a clothing line with Puma in the early years, but signed with Nike in 2004. - Jeffery A. Salter for Sports Illustrated
29 of 116 Jeffery A. Salter for Sports Illustrated
Serena in action at Fairmont Stadium in Arizona, where she had won the State Farm Classic the year before. - Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
31 of 116 Walter Iooss Jr. for Sports Illustrated
Serena's victory over Venus in the 2003 Australian Open made her the fifth woman to hold all four Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously. The media dubbed it the Serena Slam. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
32 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Seven-time NASCAR champion Richard Petty showed Serena around the garage area when she attended the Ford 400 in Homestead, Fla. - Kevin Kane/WireImage
34 of 116 Kevin Kane/WireImage
Pictured with Laura Harring and David Coulthard, Serena helped present the 2003 Comeback of the Year Award to soccer phenom Ronaldo at the Laureus World Sports awards. - Pascal Le Segretain/Laureus via Getty Images
35 of 116 Pascal Le Segretain/Laureus via Getty Images
Serena turned heads again at the 2004 U.S. Open, when she took to the court in this outfit. Officials told her to ditch the knee-high boots. - Ron Angle/WireImage
37 of 116 Ron Angle/WireImage

Serena Williams

Serena's 2005 Australian outfit wasn't quite as flamboyant, but reinforced that she does have a fashion sense about her. - David Callow for Sports Illustrated
38 of 116 David Callow for Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams

Seen here playing with her two dogs, Bambi and Jackie, Serena struggled through 2005 as a variety of injuries caused her to have her first non-Top 10 finish since 1998. - Animal Fair Media/Getty Images
40 of 116 Animal Fair Media/Getty Images

Serena Williams

Recovering from a knee injury, Serena didn't win a single tournament in 2006 and finished the year ranked 95th in the world. - Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
41 of 116 Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Serena celebrates a point during the 2007 Australian Open finals against Maria Sharapova. Williams, who was unseeded because of her World No. 81 ranking, continued on to beat Sharapova and win the tournament. - David Callow for Sports Illustrated
43 of 116 David Callow for Sports Illustrated
Serena made it to the quarterfinals of Wimbledon in 2007, where she lost to world No. 1 Justine Henin. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
44 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams

Serena unveiled her trench coat look at Wimbledon in 2008. - Simon Bruty for Sports Illustrated
46 of 116 Simon Bruty for Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams

Serena lost 7-5, 6-4 to Venus in the finals at Wimbledon in 2008. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
47 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Serena and Venus rejoice after they beat Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain during the gold medal match at the Beijing Olympics. - Charles Krupa/AP
49 of 116 Charles Krupa/AP
The victory was their second consecutive gold medal in doubles. - Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
50 of 116 Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images
Serena reacts after defeating Jelena Jankovic to win the 2008 U.S. Open title. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
52 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams

Serena poses with Kim and Khloe Kardashian and rapper Common, whom she once dated. - Mathew Imaging/WireImage
53 of 116 Mathew Imaging/WireImage
Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross with Serena and Venus after it was announced they had become minority owners of the NFL football team. - J Pat Carter/AP
55 of 116 J Pat Carter/AP
Serena kids around after winning a title in Melbourne. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
56 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Serena had an 18-match Grand Slam tournament winning streak snapped at the 2009 French Open. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
58 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Serena famously lost her temper at the 2009 U.S. Open, berating the line judge for calling a foot fault. She was assessed a point penalty, which happened to be on match point in the semifinal, giving the victory to Clijsters, 6-4, 7-5. - Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
59 of 116 Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images
Serena is seen here enjoying a White Sox-Yankees game with former Bronx bomber Reggie Jackson. - Chuck Solomon for Sports Illustrated
61 of 116 Chuck Solomon for Sports Illustrated
Other than her 2002 victory in the French Open, Serena had never made another final at Roland Garros. That is, until she won the 2013 edition. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
62 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Queen Elizabeth II meets Roger Federer, Serena, Novak Djokovic and others on Day 4 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club. It was the first visit by Queen Elizabeth II to the Championships in 33 years. - Oli Scarff - WPA Pool/Getty Images
64 of 116 Oli Scarff - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Serena didn't lose a set in winning Wimbledon in 2010. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
65 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Serena and Venus, the two-time defending doubles champions at Wimbledon, lost in the quarterfinals in 2010. Serena cut her foot on a piece of glass a few days afterwards and missed the rest of the season. - Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
67 of 116 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Serena and Venus at the end of their exhibition match at La Macarena bullring in Medellin. - Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
68 of 116 Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images
Serena along with Kim Kardashian and Sean "Diddy" Combs at a 2012 Pre-Grammy gala. - Lester Cohen/WireImage
70 of 116 Lester Cohen/WireImage

Serena Williams

Serena on the red carpet at the Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood. That same week she underwent emergency treatment for a blood clot in her lungs. - Craig Barritt/Getty Images
71 of 116 Craig Barritt/Getty Images

Serena Williams

Serena, Tim Tebow and Venus at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar Party. - Kevin Mazur/VF12/WireImage
73 of 116 Kevin Mazur/VF12/WireImage
Serena was overcome by emotion after winning her fifth Wimbledon title. The victory came a little more than a year after she had been hospitalized with a pulmonary embolism. It was the first Wimbledon title by an over-30 woman since Martina Navratilova in 1990. - Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
74 of 116 Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated
Wimbledon singles champions Serena Williams and Roger Federer at the Wimbledon Championships 2012 Winners Ball. It marked her third Wimbledon title in four years. - Clive Brunskill/Getty Images
76 of 116 Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Serena Williams

Venus and Richard Williams congratulate Serena after she won her first major title in two years.
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Serena Williams

Serena poses with members of Engine 54 Ladder 4 Battalion 9 in New York the day after winning the U.S. Open. - John Minchillo/AP
79 of 116 John Minchillo/AP
Serena won seven tournaments in 2012, including the WTA Championships in Istanbul. - Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
80 of 116 Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Serena Williams

Serena plays a forehand during the 2013 Australian Open. She lost in the quarterfinals to Sloane Stephens, who later in the year said several critical remarks about Williams. - Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
82 of 116 Cameron Spencer/Getty Images
Two points from defeat in the Open final, Serena regained her composure to come back and win the last four games, beating No. 1-ranked Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 for her fourth U.S. Open title and 15th Grand Slam title overall. - Darron Cummings/AP
83 of 116 Darron Cummings/AP

Serena Williams

Serena poses after winning the Sony Tennis Open 2013 in Key Biscayne, Fla. - Uri Schanker/FilmMagic
85 of 116 Uri Schanker/FilmMagic
Serena finally cast off her Parisian demons—she hadn't been past the quarterfinals since 2004—to win her second French Open title 11 years after her first title in 2002. - Julian Finney/Getty Images
86 of 116 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Serena wins the U.S. Open against Victoria Azarenka in 2013. - Darren Carroll for Sports Illustrated
88 of 116 Darren Carroll for Sports Illustrated
Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki pose with Miami Heat's Greg Oden and the NBA Eastern Conference championship trophy in 2014. - Lynne Sladky/AP
89 of 116 Lynne Sladky/AP
Serena Williams and Caroline Wozniacki pose together in the water on May 31, 2014, in Miami Beach. - Dave Lee/GC Images
91 of 116 Dave Lee/GC Images
Serena Williams plays a backhand in her semifinal victory over Madison Keys in the 2015 Australian Open. Serena would go on to defeat Maria Sharapova in the final match for her 19th grand slam singles title. - Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
92 of 116 Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
Serena Williams poses with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen trophy after winning the singles final against Lucie Safarova at the 2015 French Open. - Julian Finney/Getty Images
94 of 116 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Serena Williams in action against Lucie Safarova in the Finals of the 2015 French Open. - Julian Finney/Getty Images
95 of 116 Julian Finney/Getty Images
Serena Williams plays Maria Sharapova in a semifinal match at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. - Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
97 of 116 Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images
Serena Williams arrives at the 2015 Wimbledon Champions Dinner at The Guildhall in England. - Karwai Tang/WireImage
98 of 116 Karwai Tang/WireImage
Serena Williams attends Nike's "NYC Street Tennis" event in August 2015. - D Dipasupil/FilmMagic
100 of 116 D Dipasupil/FilmMagic
Serena, with Estelle, Jason Biggs, Jenny Mollen and Uzo Aduba at the 2nd Annual Delta Open Mic, a few days before the 2015 U.S. Open began. - Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
101 of 116 Michael Loccisano/Getty Images
Serena Williams attends the 2015 Taste of Tennis New York at W New York Hotel while in town for the start of the U.S. Open. - Desiree Navarro/WireImage
103 of 116 Desiree Navarro/WireImage
Serena Williams did an inpromtu split during her match against Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the 2015 U.S. Open. - Mark Peterson for Sports Illustrated
104 of 116 Mark Peterson for Sports Illustrated
Serena Williams wipes sweat away after falling 3-0 in the first set to Bethanie Mattek-Sands at the U.S. Open. - Julio Cortez/AP
106 of 116 Julio Cortez/AP
Serena Williams in action against Kiki Bertens at the 2015 U.S. Open. - Erick W. Rasco for Sports Illustrated
107 of 116 Erick W. Rasco for Sports Illustrated
Serena signing autographs for fans at the 2015 U.S. Open. - Virginie Bouyer/Tennis Magazine/Icon
109 of 116 Virginie Bouyer/Tennis Magazine/Icon
Serena Williams celebrates after defeating Venus in their quarterfinal match at the 2015 U.S. Open. - Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
110 of 116 Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Serena and Venus hug after their quarterfinal match at the 2015 U.S. Open. - Carlos M. Saavedra for Sports Illustrated
112 of 116 Carlos M. Saavedra for Sports Illustrated
Serena Williams accepting the 2015 Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year award. - Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
113 of 116 Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images
Serena Williams after a win over Maria Sharapova at the 2016 French Open. - William West/AFP/Getty Images
115 of 116 William West/AFP/Getty Images
Serena Williams after winning the 2016 Wimbledon title, her 22nd Grand Slam crown, which tied Steffi Graf for the most in the open era. - Adam Pretty/Getty Images
116 of 116 Adam Pretty/Getty Images
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