NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 10:  Venus Williams of the United States plays against Kim Clijsters of Belgium during her women's semifinal match on day twelve of the 2010 U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2010 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Venus Williams

Venus Williams

Athlete

Top-ranked tennis star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Venus Williams road to greatness began in Compton, CA—playing the sport of kings on municipal courts in a neighborhood torn by drugs and gang violence. Coached by their father, Richard, Venus and her younger sister Serena showed a natural aptitude for the game, quickly advancing to amateur competition thanks to their speed, power and agility. Since going pro in 1994, Venus has been recognized as one of the greatest women’s tennis players of all time. In 2002, she became the World’s No. 1 female tennis player for the first time, the second African American woman to achieve the feat. Her powerful serve—once clocked at 130 miles per hour—is the fastest recorded by any woman.

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