Talented World tennis champion Venus Ebone Starr Williams (1980-) was born on this day in the tough Los Angeles neighborhood of Lynwood, California. Along with her younger sister Serena, Venus has changed tennis with her passion, power-serve, and self confidence.
"I don't remember ever learning how to play, I just remember always knowing how," she once said.
In a career that celebrates lightning fast excellence, Williams turned pro in 1994 and snagged her first match in Oakland. She scored an eight-figure Reebok endorsement deal a year later. In 2000, she won six out of the 10 tournaments, including her first singles grand slam at Wimbledon.
"I love being No. 1. I love being my absolute best," she said with self-belief that propelled her to becoming the lowest-ranked woman (No. 31) to win Wimbledon in 2007.
"You walk into that court and you know you're a part of history," she said.
Williams has one of the strongest serves in tennis, clocking in at 128 MPH (206 kph) at the 2007 French Open. "When I was younger, I was always trying to serve harder and harder, and now I'm not trying to serve hard. It comes hard," she said.
At 6'1", she has stood tall and apart from others, whether its braiding signature white beads in her hair, designing her own sportswear, or advocating for equal prize money in women's tennis.
Of her life, she said, "Every day I wake up, it's a privilege to be able to go outside and do what I love... It's a privilege to be doing something that millions of girls dream of doing but not everyone makes it, so I'm blessed to be doing this, and I go for it, and I'm happy to be here.
Believe in yourself.