John McEnroe and Chris Evert were topping the rankings, Lionel Richie and Diana Ross were topping the charts, and an all-time great was coming into the world.
WTA Staff

SAGINAW, MI, USA - September 26, 1981. It was a rainy but warm Saturday in Saginaw, Michigan, and a child who would one day become one of the all-time greatest athletes was coming into the world.

Serena Williams didn't spend all her youth in Michigan by any means - the family moved to Compton, California, where she and her sister Venus would first learn to play tennis, and a few years later they moved to Florida to hone their craft. It wasn't long before they made their professional debuts.

Though she played one match as a 14-year-old in the qualifying of Québec City in 1995, Williams didn't begin playing at the full WTA main draw level until 1997, when - just a few weeks after sister Venus' Cinderella run to the US Open final - she took out Mary Pierce and Monica Seles en route to her first WTA semifinal in Chicago, all the while ranked an extremely misleading No.304 in the world.

Fast forward 17 years later and we're talking 18 Grand Slams, four WTA Finals titles, another 41 WTA titles, 207 weeks at No.1, 13 Grand Slam doubles titles, two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles, over $60 million in career prize money - and to top it all off, she's such a dominant World No.1 right now that she has more than one and a half times the ranking points as the current No.2 player in the world.

And it all started on September 26, 1981...

Here are a few throwbacks to that day:
No.1 song on Billboard Hot 100 singles: Endless Love by Lionel Richie & Diana Ross
No.1 album on Billboard 200 albums: Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones
No.1 movie at US Box Office: Continental Divide starring John Belushi & Blair Brown
No.1 men's tennis player: John McEnroe
No.1 women's tennis player: Chris Evert