At the highest level of international tennis are the majors or slams; the Australian Open, Roland Garros (French Open), Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Individually Serena has won 21 grand slams, Venus has won 7. Together with her sister, they have won 13 major doubles titles. Venus has won 3 mixed doubles slams to Serena's 2. That's a combined total of 59 slams.
The pair also have two gold Olympic medals, and have earned 3 doubles gold medals. And you guessed it, Venus's doubles partner was her sister. In total Venus has won 69 titles to Serena's 95 in all competitions at the highest level. Between them they have a grand total of 174 trophies. Can you imagine the size of the Williams' trophy cabinet?
Serena stands head and shoulders above her peers. She has thoroughly dominated all other grand slam winners who won their titles while she was on tour. Her head to head stats against Maria Sharapova (18 Win - 2 Loss), Victoria Azarenka (17 - 3), Samatha Stosur (8 - 3), Petra Kvitova (5 -1), Franseca Schiavone (7 - 2) and Ana Ivanovic (8 -1) are overwhelmingly in her favor. As sports broadcaster Udo Carelse says, "There is no rivalry here". Serena has always said that her toughest competitor is Venus, and again the numbers bear this out - that head to head record stands at 15 wins to 11 in Serena's favour. Serena also holds the best win ratio in finals played by any player, male or female. Her record stands at 24 finals played and 21 won, even better than Roger Federer's record of 25 finals played, and 17 won.
Serena's sixth Wimbledon title win against Garbine Muguruza was tough. She had to beat Azarenka and Sharapova, and her own sister to get to the final. And Muguruza didn't make it easy for her. It was clear Serena was feeling the pressure towards the end in the second set, but secured it with a 6-4 6-4 win. She is also on the cusp of equaling Stefi Graf's grand slam record.
The Williams sisters have reached these heights despite having to battle personal challenges. Venus suffers from Sjogren Syndrome. Its a disorder of the immune system which affects the mucous membranes. Venus announced in 2011 that she had been diagnosed with the disorder. That year while withdrawing from US Open, Venus revealed that the syndrome affected her energy levels causing fatigue and joint pain. Her words at the time: "I've lost and I've had to learn -- but I've never had to lay down the towel, so to speak." She is now playing again, and is currently ranked world No. 16 and climbing up the rankings steadily.
Serena has also had more than her fair share of injuries and illnesses. In 2011 she revealed she had suffered a haematoma and pulmonary embolism. She didn't think she would ever play again. She recovered and fought back to earn the world no 1 ranking.
Serena and Venus Williams have undoubtedly had a massive influence on the game of tennis. Their abilities and fierce competitiveness court-side, and their humility off it, have endeared them to many. These two black women from Compton in Los Angeles, have succeeded in turning what is largely considered a white elitist sport, on its head.