On This Day: Venus Is Born
Published June 17, 2014 12:13
LYNWOOD, CA, USA - It was Tuesday, June 17, 1980 when one of the WTA's greatest legends, and still one of the very best out there, was born - Venus Ebony Starr Williams, or just Venus Williams.
Williams had almost no problems living up to the hype when she turned pro in 1994 at age 14 - she won her first match, and she was up 6-2, 3-1 against then-World No.2 Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in her second match before falling. And at the 1997 US Open, at age 17, she made a Cinderella run to her first Grand Slam final, only to fall to then-World No.1 - and 16-year-old contemporary - Martina Hingis.
Once she broke through on the big stage, there was really no turning back. In the almost-20 years she has played on the pro tour she has amassed 45 WTA titles, which includes seven Grand Slams - five Wimbledons, two US Opens - and in 2002 she became the first African-American to reach World No.1.
And she's still going strong. She just won that 45th WTA title at the Premier-level Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships a few months ago, and with barely anything to defend over the next few months - she won just two matches between now and mid-September last year - she could very well improve on her current ranking of No.30 in the world. And with her beloved Wimbledon right around the corner...
A few throwbacks to June 17, 1980...
No.1 song on Billboard Hot 100 singles: Funkytown by Lipps Inc
No.1 album on Billboard 200 albums: Glass Houses by Billy Joel
No.1 movie at US Box Office: The Empire Strikes Back
No.1 men's tennis player: Björn Borg
No.1 women's tennis player: Martina Navratilova
And there's another very special person from the tennis world celebrating their big day today - Bud Collins, a legendary American journalist and TV sportscaster, will celebrate his 85th birthday today.