Venus Ebony Starr Williams (born June 17, 1980) is an American professional tennis player, former World No. 1, and the reigning Wimbledon singles champion.
Williams has won the Olympic gold medal in women's tennis and 14 Grand Slam titles, including six singles (four at Wimbledon and two at the U.S. Open), six women's doubles, and two mixed doubles titles. She is the older sister of fellow former World No. 1 tennis player Serena Williams. The Williams sisters are noted for their power games.
Williams is known for her offensive baseliner game, although she is also a skillful volleyer and effectively utilizes her long reach and quickness at the net. She said during an interview at the 2008 Australian Open that she was working to improve her volley.
Her serve on average is one of the most powerful on the WTA tour. Williams is known for her powerful two-handed backhand, which is her stronger and more consistent side. Occasionally her forehand has been prone to break down in tough matches.
Already well-known in tennis circles at age 14, Williams turned professional on October 31, 1994. In the second round of her first professional tournament in Oakland, Williams was up a set and a service break against top seed Arantxa Sanchez Vicario before losing the match. That was the only tournament Williams played in 1994. She remained a part-time player on the tour during the next two years, playing only three tournaments in 1995 and five tournaments in 1996.
Williams began to play regularly on the tour in 1997. The highlight of her year was her debut at the U.S. Open, where she lost in the final to Martina Hingis 6–0, 6–4 after defeating Irina Spirlea in a semifinal famous for "the bump" in which Spirlea and Williams collided during a changeover. Richard Williams, her father, later claimed that this incident was racially motivated.
In 1998, Williams teamed with Justin Gimelstob to win the mixed doubles title at the Australian Open and the French Open. Her sister Serena Williams won the other two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles of the year, completing a "Williams Family Mixed Doubles Grand Slam." In singles, Venus won the Grand Slam Cup and the tournaments in Miami and Oklahoma City. She also reached at least the quarterfinals at all four Grand Slam tournaments. She ended the year ranked fifth in the world.
In 1999, Williams won the tournament in Miami, defeating Jana Novotna, Steffi Graf, and her sister Serena in successive matches. Venus also won tournaments in Hamburg, Rome, New Haven, and Zurich. Venus and Serena teamed to win the doubles titles at the French Open and the U.S. Open, becoming the first sister team to win a Grand Slam doubles title in the 20th century. Venus also went 2–1 (1–1 in singles and 1–0 in doubles with Serena) in the United States' 4–1 win over Russia in the final of the Fed Cup, giving the U.S. its 16th title.
Williams missed the first four months of the year with tendonitis in both wrists. At the French Open, Williams lost to Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the quarterfinals.
Williams then won 35 consecutive singles matches and five tournaments. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon, defeating World No. 1 Martina Hingis in the quarterfinals, sister Serena in the semifinals, and defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the final. She won three Tier II events during the North American summer hard court season, defeating Davenport in the final of Stanford, California and Monica Seles in the finals of both San Diego and New Haven, Connecticut. At the U.S. Open, Williams defeated still-World No. 1 Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 2 Davenport in the final. At the Olympic games in Sydney, Williams defeated Sanchez Vicario in the quarterfinals, Seles in the semifinals, and Elena Dementieva in the final to win the gold medal. Her winning streak was eventully snapped in October by Davenport in the final of the tournament in Linz. Williams did not play a tournament the rest of the year because of anaemia.
In women's doubles, Williams teamed with her sister Serena to capture the Wimbledon doubles title for the first time and the Olympic gold medal. Williams became only the second player to win the women's singles and doubles titles at the same Olympic games.
Williams reached the semifinals of the Australian Open for the first time, where she lost to World No. 1 Martina Hingis 6–1, 6–1. She also reached the semifinals of the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, where she defaulted her match with sister Serena. She won, however, the next tournament on the tour calendar, the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, defeating Hingis in the semifinals and World No. 4 Jennifer Capriati in the final.
During the European clay court season, Williams won the Tier II tournament in Hamburg but lost in the third round of the Tier I Qatar Telecom German Open to Justine Henin and the first round of the French Open to Barbara Schett.
Williams then successfully defended her Wimbledon title, defeating third-seeded Lindsay Davenport in the semifinals and eighth-seeded Henin in the final.
During the summer hard court season in North America, Williams won the tournaments in San Diego and New Haven, Connecticut for the second consecutive year. She defeated Monica Seles in the San Diego final and Davenport in the New Haven final. Williams also won the U.S. Open singles title for the second consecutive year, without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, she beat fifth-seeded Kim Clijsters, followed by a semifinal victory over World No. 2 Capriati and a defeat of World No. 10 Serena Williams in the final. Venus was only the third woman in history to win the singles titles at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in consecutive years, the others being Martina Navaratilova and Steffi Graf.
In women's doubles, Venus and Serena Williams won the Australian Open title for the first time and became only the fifth team to complete a career Grand Slam in that event.
Williams began the year in Australia by defeating Justine Henin to win the Gold Coast tournament and losing in the quarterfinals of the Australian Open to World No. 10 Monica Seles 6–7(4), 6–2, 6–3.
Williams then won the tournaments in Paris and Antwerp and reached the semifinals of the tournaments in Dubai and Key Biscayne, Florida.
On clay, Williams beat Henin in the final of the Amelia Island, Florida tournament before traveling to Europe for two clay court tournaments. In Hamburg, Williams defeated Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in a three-set quarterfinal and World No. 4 Martina Hingis in the semifinals before losing to World No. 3 Kim Clijsters in the final. At the French Open, Williams defeated Seles in the quarterfinals before sister Serena defeated Venus in the final.
Williams then reached the Wimbledon singles final for the third consecutive year after defeating World No. 6 Henin in the semifinals. In the second consecutive all-Williams Grand Slam singles final, Serena defeated Venus in straight sets.
During the summer hard court season in North America, Williams won the tournaments in San Diego and New Haven, Connecticut for the third consecutive year. She defeated World No. 5 Jelena Dokic in the San Diego final and Lindsay Davenport in the New Haven final. She also won the tournament in Stanford, California, defeating World No. 5 Kim Clijsters in the final. At the U.S. Open, Williams defeated sixth-seeded Seles in the quarterfinals and Amelie Mauresmo in the semifinals before losing to sister Serena for the third consecutive time in the final of a Grand Slam event.
Williams won seven singles titles during the year, a career best. In February, Williams became the World No. 1, the first African-American player to garner that spot since the computer rankings began in 1975.
In women's doubles, the Williams sisters won the Wimbledon title for the second time.
Williams started the year by losing to her sister Serena in three sets in the Australian Open final. Williams then won the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium for the second consecutive year, defeating Daniela Hantuchova and Kim Clijsters in consecutive matches.
During a semifinal match against Clijsters at Wimbledon, Williams suffered an abdominal injury that required medical attention during the match. Williams lost the first set and was behind early in the second set before rain delayed the match. Once play resumed, Williams won the match 4–6, 6–3, 6–1, advancing to her fourth consecutive Wimbledon final, where she lost to her sister Serena 4–6, 6–4, 6–2. Following Wimbledon, both Venus and Serena suffered injuries that kept them out of competition for the last half of the year.
On the morning of September 14, 2003, Venus's older half sister, Yetunde Price, was murdered in the Compton, California area.
Williams came back to the tour and experienced inconsistent results. As the third seeded player because of a protected ranking, she reached the third round of the Australian Open, where she lost to Lisa Raymond. After quarterfinal losses in Tokyo, Dubai, and Miami, Williams won the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, defeating Conchita Martinez in the final. At the Tier II tournament in Warsaw, Williams defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova in the final. The following week, Williams reached the final of the Tier I tournament in Berlin but was forced to retire from her match against Amelie Mauresmo. Going into the French Open, Williams had the best clay court record among the women and was among the favorites to win the title; however, she lost in the quarterfinals to eventual champion Anastasia Myskina 6–3, 6–4.
At Wimbledon, Williams lost a controversial second round match to Croatian Karolina Sprem. The umpire of the match, Ted Watts, awarded Sprem an unearned point in the second set tiebreak. Upon the conclusion of the match, he was relieved of his duties.
Williams was the third seed at the hardcourt tournament in Stanford, where she lost the final to top seeded Lindsay Davenport in a third set tiebreak. At the tournament in Los Angeles the following week, Williams lost again to Davenport, this time in the semifinals. Williams was leading 5–1 in the first set when she suffered an injury and lost the last six games of the set. She then retired from the match.
In the fourth round of the U.S. Open, Williams lost to Davenport for the third consecutive time. Williams ended her year by losing in the quarterfinals of three consecutive tournaments in Moscow, Zurich, and Philadelphia.
Williams started the year by losing in the fourth round of the Australian Open to Alicia Molik. She then reached the final at the Proximus Diamond Games in Antwerp, Belgium, where she was attempting to win the tournament for the third time in four years. She defeated Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals, Anastasia Myskina in the semifinals, and was up a set and a break in the final against Amelie Mauresmo before losing the match. Williams then lost in the first round in Dubai.
At the NASDAQ-100 Open in Miami, Venus defeated her sister Serena in the quarterfinals before losing to Maria Sharapova. This was the first time since the 2001 U.S. Open that Venus had defeated Serena.
Williams then reached the quarterfinals at Amelia Island, where she lost to top seeded Lindsay Davenport. In her next tournament in Charleston, Williams lost in the third round. She then won a Tier III title in Istanbul, defeating second seeded Nicole Vaidisova in the final.
At the French Open, Williams lost in the third round to 15-year old Bulgarian Sesil Karatantcheva, who subsequently failed a doping test and was suspended from the tour for two years.
At Wimbledon, Williams defeated defending champion Sharapova in a semifinal 7–6(2), 6–1, breaking Sharapova's serve four times. (Sharapova had lost only one service game to that point.) This marked the sixth consecutive year that at least one of the Williams sisters had reached the final, and it was Venus's fifth appearance in the Wimbledon final in the past 6 years. In the longest Wimbledon final in history, Williams was down match point at 6–4, 6–7(4), 5–4 (40–30) before coming back to defeat top seeded Davenport. This was Williams's third Wimbledon singles title, and this was the first time in 70 years that a player had won after being down match point during the women's final. In addition, Williams was the lowest-ranked (World No. 16) and lowest-seeded (14th) champion in tournament history.
Playing for the fifth consecutive week, including Fed Cup, Williams reached the final of the Stanford tournament after defeating Patty Schnyder in a semifinal 2–6, 7–6, 6–2. Visibly exhausted, Williams lost the final to Clijsters.
At the 2005 U.S. Open, Williams reached the quarterfinals. In the fourth round, Venus defeated her sister Serena for the second consecutive time. In the quarterfinals, Williams lost to Clijsters 4–6, 7–5, 6–1, who went on to win the tournament.
Williams did not qualify for the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships because of an injury sustained during the tournament in Philadelphia.
In 2005, TENNIS Magazine ranked her 25th on its list of the 40 Greatest Players of the TENNIS era.
Williams was upset in the first round of the Australian Open by Tszvetana Pironkova 2–6, 6–0, 9–7, which was her earliest loss at that tournament.
Williams was out of action from January 16 until April 30 because of injuries. After defeating Martina Hingis in the second round, she reached the quarterfinals of the J&S Cup in Warsaw, losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova. She then lost to Hingis in a semifinal of the Italian Open, after defeating Jelena Jankovic and Patty Schnyder in earlier rounds. Williams ended her clay court season with a French Open quarterfinal loss to Nicole Vaidisova 6–7, 6–1, 6–3.
Williams was one of the favorites to win the singles title at Wimbledon. She defeated fellow American Lisa Raymond in the second round after Williams was two points from defeat. Williams then lost in the third round to 26th-seeded Jankovi? 7–6(8), 4–6, 6–4. After the loss, Williams said that she was having pain in her left wrist, although she admitted that the injury was not the cause of her loss.
Williams did not play in the U.S. Open series or the U.S. Open itself due to a recurring wrist injury. During her first tournament in almost three months, she reinjured her wrist in Luxembourg and lost in the second round to qualifier Agnieszka Radwanska after defeating Ana Ivanovic in the first round.
Williams started the year by withdrawing from the Australian Open because of a recurring wrist injury. This was the second consecutive Grand Slam event that Williams had missed due to injury.
Williams then won the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee, defeating top-seeded Shahar Peer of Israel in the final. This was her first tournament since October 2006 and her 34th career singles title.
Williams's next tournament was the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost in the third round to top seeded Maria Sharapova 2–6, 6–2, 7–5. However, her ranking rose seven places to World No. 32.
She then moved onto clay, playing at the Tier II Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. She beat fourth seeded Patty Schnyder before falling in the quarterfinals to the eighth seed and eventual champion Tatiana Golovin 6–2, 6–3. Her next tournament was the Tier I Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, where she lost in the semifinals to Jelena Jankovic. Despite the loss, her ranking rose to World No. 22.
Williams played Fed Cup with her sister Serena for the first time in four years, in a home tie against Belgium on hard courts in Delray Beach, Florida, beating the young Belgium team 5–0. Williams defeated Kirsten Flipkens 7–5, 6–2 and Yanina Wickmayer 6–1, 6–2.
Williams then travelled to Europe to prepare for the French Open. At the J&S Cup in Warsaw, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Svetlana Kuznetsova 3–6, 6–3, 6–4. Two weeks later, Williams played the Istanbul Cup, defeating Tatiana Poutchek in the first round before losing to French hard hitter Aravane Rezai in the second round 6–4, 6–4. This was Williams's first defeat in a Tier III event on the WTA Tour. At the French Open, Williams lost her third round match with Jankovi? 6–4, 4–6, 6–1. During her second round win over Ashley Harkleroad, Williams hit a 206 km/h (128.8 mph) serve, which is the second fastest woman's serve ever recorded and the fastest ever recorded during a main draw match.
At Wimbledon in a first round match on Court 2, Williams was within two points of defeat against Alla Kudryavtseva before winning. In the third round, Akiko Morigami served for the match in the third set before Williams regrouped and won the match 6–2, 3–6, 7–5. In her fourth round match, Williams defeated second-seeded Sharapova 6–1, 6–3. In the quarterfinals, Williams defeated fifth-seeded Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–4 to reach her sixth career Wimbledon semifinal, where she defeated sixth-seeded Ana Ivanovi? 6–2, 6–4. In the final, Williams defeated Marion Bartoli 6–4, 6–1. Seeded 23rd and ranked World No. 31, Williams broke her own record set in 2005 as the lowest seeded and lowest ranked Wimbledon singles champion. During the award ceremony, she said that her sister Serena inspired her to win. With her fourth Wimbledon title, Williams joined Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, and Steffi Graf as the only women to who have won at least four Wimbledon singles titles during the open era. The win also bettered her ranking to World No. 17, her first return to the top 20 in a year.
Williams then played for the U.S. in its Fed Cup semifinal tie against Russia. Williams won both her singles matches over Nadia Petrova and Anna Chakvetadze; however, the U.S. lost the tie when Williams and Lisa Raymond were defeated in the deciding doubles match.
At the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego, Williams lost her quarterfinal match to Chakvetadze 6–7, 7–6, 6–2 after Williams double faulted while holding a match point in the second set. Nevertheless, her ranking increased to World No. 14.
At the U.S. Open, after setting a Grand-Slam record 129 mph serve in the opening round, Williams defeated Jankovi? in the quarterfinals 4–6, 6–1, 7–6(4) before losing to the eventual champion, Justine Henin, in a semifinal 7–6, 6–4. Both players had health issues during the match. In the second set, Williams was treated for a stomach ache and dizziness. In the post match interview, Williams stated, "I just was feeling dizzy, a little sick to the stomach. Was just having some energy problems. I'm not really sure what's wrong with me. But, you know, credit to her for playing well." The tournament resulted in Williams's ranking moving up to World No. 9. With sister Serena at World No. 7, it was the first time the sisters were in the top 10 together since September 2005.
Williams then played three tournaments in Asia. Williams won her 36th career singles title at the Hansol Korea Open Tennis Championships in Seoul, South Korea, defeating fourth-seeded Russian Maria Kirilenko in the final. Despite having a heavily strapped leg, Williams then played in the AIG Japan Open Tennis Championships in Tokyo, where she lost to Virginie Razzano in the final 4–6, 7–6(7), 6–4 after holding three match points. At the PTT Bangkok Open, Williams lost in the semifinals to eventual champion Flavia Pennetta 6–4, 7–6(8).
Despite officially qualifying for the WTA Tour Championships, Williams withdrew because of continuing problems with anemia. She was replaced by Sharapova, who subsequently reached the final.
Williams began the year at an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong, defeating Maria Sharapova in the final 6–4, 6–3. She also won the doubles tournament with Caroline Wozniacki.
Williams was the eighth-seed at the Australian Open. She defeated qualifier Marta Domachowska of Poland in the fourth round, reaching the quarterfinals at this tournament for the first time since 2003. Then in a hard fought match, Williams lost to fourth-seeded Ana Ivanovic 7–6(3), 6–4. When asked after the match about whether the quarterfinal losses by both Williams sisters at the Australian Open marked their decline, she replied that she had heard the same talk "every single year. Serena and I, we don't have anything to prove. The way we're playing still maintains what other women are doing in tennis. We still set a very high standard. I don't get too caught up in what the next person thinks." Playing with her sister Serena in the womens doubles event at the Australian Open, they defeated the second-seeded team of Katarina Srebotnik and Ai Sugiyama in the second round 6–2, 7–6(2) but eventually lost in the quarterfinals to the seventh-seeded team and 2006 Australian Open champions Zi Yan and Jie Zheng 3–6, 6–4, 6–2.
On January 28, 2008, Venus again became the top ranked woman from the U.S., a position she last held in May 2002 when she also was World No. 1.
At the Tier I Qatar Total Open in Doha, Williams was upset in the third round by 18 year old Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia, 6–3, 6–3. Williams also played the doubles tournament in Doha as a wild card team with Wozniacki. Their first round win marked the first time that Venus had won an official WTA tour women's doubles match without sister Serena. In the second round, Williams and Wozniacki lost to the fourth-seeded Taipei pair of Yung-Jan Chan and Chia-Jung Chuang.
At the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee, Williams was the top seeded player but lost to Petra Kvitova in the first round 2–6, 6–4, 6–3 after Williams had lead 2–0 in the third set.
At the Tier II Canara Bank Bangalore (India) Open, Venus and her sister Serena lost in the doubles quarterfinals to third-seeded and eventual tournament winners Shuai Peng and Tiantian Sun 5–7, 6–2, 11–9 (tiebreak). In singles, Venus lost to Serena, the eventual tournament champion, in the semifinals 6–3, 3–6, 7–6(4) on Serena's second match point after Serena had saved a match point while trailing 6–5 in the third set.
At the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Williams lost in the quarterfinals to Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-4, 6-4.
On April 9, 2008, Williams announced that she will be away from the tour indefinitely but refused to explain other than to say, "I've just been having some issues that I need to resolve, so I'm working on that at the moment and I'm hoping to be back playing as soon as possible. I'm not going to get any further into it, but of course I love the sport." The following day, Williams's agent, Carlos Fleming, said, "This [is] not a hiatus. This is not a break from the tour. This was a limited window where she could get these [medical] evaluations before the three major tournaments and Olympics this summer. Venus has assured me that there's no serious medical problem." He said that she intends to compete at the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, which begins May 12, 2008.
Fight for equal prize money for women at Wimbledon and the French Open
Despite decades of lobbying by tennis pioneer Billie Jean King and others, only the French Open and Wimbledon in 2005 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 males. 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 The Times on the eve of Wimbledon in 2006. In it, Williams accused Wimbledon of being on the "wrong side of history," writing:
I feel so strongly that Wimbledon’s stance devalues the principle of meritocracy and diminishes the years of hard work that women on the tour have put into becoming professional tennis players.
I believe that athletes — especially female athletes in the world’s leading sport for women — should serve as role models. The message I like to convey to women and girls across the globe is that there is no glass ceiling. My fear is that Wimbledon is loudly and clearly sending the opposite message....
Wimbledon has argued that women’s tennis is worth less for a variety of reasons; it says, for example, that because men play a best of five sets game they work harder for their prize money.
This argument just doesn’t make sense; first of all, women players would be happy to play five sets matches in grand slam tournaments....
Secondly, tennis is unique in the world of professional sports. No other sport has men and women competing for a grand slam championship on the same stage, at the same time. So in the eyes of the general public the men’s and women’s games have the same value.
Third, ... we enjoy huge and equal celebrity and are paid for the value we deliver to broadcasters and spectators, not the amount of time we spend on the stage. And, for the record, the ladies’ final at Wimbledon in 2005 lasted 45 minutes longer than the men’s....
Wimbledon has justified treating women as second class because we do more for the tournament. The argument goes that the top women — who are more likely also to play doubles matches than their male peers — earn more than the top men if you count singles, doubles and mixed doubles prize money. So the more we support the tournament, the more unequally we should be treated! But doubles and mixed doubles are separate events from the singles competition. Is Wimbledon suggesting that, if the top women withdrew from the doubles events, that then we would deserve equal prize money in singles? And how then does the All England Club explain why the pot of women’s doubles prize money is nearly £130,000 smaller than the men’s doubles prize money?
I intend to keep doing everything I can until Billie Jean's original dream of equality is made real. It’s a shame that the name of the greatest tournament in tennis, an event that should be a positive symbol for the sport, is tarnished.
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, French Tennis Federation president Christian Bimes admitted he had been "particularly sensitive" to Williams's remarks,and 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 ultimately became the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, winning the 2007 tournament and being awarded the same amount as the male winner, Roger Federer.
In 2003, her elder sister and personal assistant, Yetunde Price, 31, was shot dead near the courts on which she and her sister once practiced. Her family issued this statement shortly after the death. "We are extremely shocked, saddened and devastated by the shooting death of our beloved Yetunde. She was our nucleus and our rock. She was a personal assistant, confidante, and adviser to her sisters, and her death leaves a void that can never be filled. Our grief is overwhelming, and this is the saddest day of our lives."
Williams is currently engaged to her long time boyfriend, pro golfer Hank Kuehne, who has been a visible presence since Wimbledon 2007, holding her hand during long rain delays and clapping support from the players' box along with her parents and younger sister, Serena. "He's a great guy," Williams said. "He understands competition. He's very supportive. I love having him here and everyone else in the box, too."
Williams professes to be a devout Jehovah's Witness.
On December 13, 2007, Williams received her associate degree in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale with Cum Laude honors and a 3.5 GPA.
Williams is the chief executive officer of her interior design firm "V Starr Interiors" located in Jupiter, Florida. Williams's company designed the set of the "Tavis Smiley Show" on PBS, the Olympic athletes' apartments as part of the U.S. bid package for New York City to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and residences and businesses in the Palm Beach, Florida area.
In 2007, Williams teamed with retailer Steve & Barry's to launch her own fashion line EleVen. "I love fashion and the idea that I am using my design education to actually create clothing and footwear that I will wear on and off the tennis court is a dream come true for me. The vision has been to create a collection that will allow women to enjoy an active lifestyle while remaining fashionable at the same time. I'm thrilled with everything we've created to launch EleVen."
In 2001, Williams was named one of the 30 most powerful women in America by Ladies Home Journal.