Venus Williams made her professional tennis debut on October 31, 1994 - and it was a winning one. Turn back the clock as a legendary WTA career turns 22 years old.
WTA Staff

OAKLAND, CA, USA - It was a Monday, October 31, 1994, exactly 22 years ago to this day, when one of the greatest legends in women's tennis history - Venus Williams - played the first professional match of her career. It was the start of something very, very big - and she's still going very, very strong.

Williams was just 14 when she took to the court for her first-round match at the Bank Of The West Classic, which was held in Oakland, California back then. An unranked wildcard into the draw, Williams beat No.58-ranked countrywoman Shaun Stafford in that match, 6-3, 6-4, and then went on to push one of the best in the world to the limits in the second round - after building a 6-2, 3-1 lead, she ended up falling to then-World No.2 Arantxa Sánchez-Vicario in three sets that day, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.

But win or lose that one, Williams had sent a signal that she would be a major factor in the years, even decades, to come. And now, exactly 22 years later, she's proven it - seven Grand Slam titles, World No.1, another slew of Grand Slam titles in doubles and longevity that hasn't really been seen in a long time, winning two more WTA titles this year and currently ranked just outside the Top 10 at No.11.

One of those titles, Wuhan, was her biggest in five years - she's showing no signs of slowing down.

"Well, I feel like everyone else on tour: I work hard, I give my best. As long as you continue to work and believe in yourself, you're going to have results," Williams said after winning the title in Wuhan.

"It's never been the easiest road, but it doesn't mean that it's not a road worth travelling."

Read more about Williams' professional debut in this USA Today feature.

And here are a few throwbacks to October 31, 1994...
No.1 song on Billboard Hot 100 singles: I'll Make Love To You by Boyz II Men
No.1 album on Billboard 200 albums: II by Boyz II Men
No.1 movie at US Box Office: Stargate starring Kurt Russell
No.1 men's tennis player: Pete Sampras
No.1 women's tennis player: Steffi Graf