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Serena Williams, A Career in Photos

While the G.O.A.T. explores her next steps off the court, we look back at her amazing career through Sports Illustrated photos and magazine covers.
Serena, 2014

If Serena indeed played her final professional match at the 2022 U.S. Open, she leaves the sport with a combined 39 Grand Slam titles—23 in singles, 14 in doubles and two in mixed doubles.

Serena Williams’s run at what was expected to be her last professional tennis tournament came to an end Friday night at the 2022 U.S. Open. The 23-time Grand Slam champion lost in three sets against Australian Ajla Tomljanović in arguably one of the most gutsiest matches of her storied career.

When asked after the match of this was indeed the end, Williams joked that she “always did love Australia,” eluding to the 2023 Australian Open in January. But quickly added, “I don't know. I'm not thinking about that. Clearly, I’m still capable. It takes a lot more than that. I’m ready to, like, be a mom, and explore a different version of Serena. Technically, in the world, I’m still super young, so I want to have a little bit of a life while I’m still walking.”

While the G.O.A.T. explores her next steps off the court, Sports Illustrated looks back her amazing career in photos.

The Beginning

Serena at the 1998 French Open.

May 26, 1998: Serena Williams faced Arantxa Sánchez Vicario during the fourth round at Roland Garros.

Serena’s first professional event was in October 1995. She went on to make her first rotation in the Grand Slams in 1998. 

Serena, Venus … Venus, Serena

Serena said “there is no Serena without Venus” after her third-round loss Friday night at the U.S. Open. The sisters changed the game and faced each other 31 times over their careers, including in nine Grand Slam finals. Serena and Venus also posted a 14-0 career record in Grand Slam doubles finals, a record that will likely stand the test of time.

Venus and Serena Williams face off at the 2003 Aussie Open.

Jan. 25, 2003: Venus (top) returns a shot against Serena during the Australian Open final.

Serena and Venus Williams during a doubles match at 2001 U.S. Open.

Sept. 2, 2002: Serena and Venus strategize during a doubles match at the U.S. Open.

French Open

Serena has had some memorable moments at Roland Garros, from falling in love with the fashion capital that is Paris, to facing criticism from French Open officials over her black cat suit that Williams said she wore to help with circulation issues. In her post-match press conference Friday, Williams said one of her greatest moments was a few years earlier at the 2015 French Open. “That is definitely the one that I’m taking with me because I almost died in that event. Somehow I won. So that was pretty awesome.”

Serena Williams at the 2004 French Open.

May 25, 2004: Serena playing during Day 2 of the French Open.


Seven of Serena’s 23 Slam singles titles came on grass, along with the six doubles titles she took home with Venus.

Serena at Wimbledon in 2002.

July 8, 2002: Serena charges the net to return a volley against Francesca Schiavone during the second round at Wimbledon.

Serena Williams at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.

July 20, 2015: Serena’s most powerful tennis weapon, her serve, helped her beat Garbine Muguruza in the final.

Serena Williams after winning the 2015 Wimbledon title.

July 20, 2015: Serena would win Wimbledon again a year later in 2016.

U.S. Open

Her home court. Her biggest stage. The U.S. Open is where Serena had some of her most memorable moments, for better or worse. But there was no better court for her to receive what is expected to be her final professional sendoff than at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Sept. 9, 2012: Serena beat Victoria Azarenka, 6–2, 2–6, 7–5, in the U.S. Open final.

Sept. 9, 2012: Serena beat Victoria Azarenka, 6–2, 2–6, 7–5, in the U.S. Open final.

Serena Williams waves to the crowd after losing to Ajla Tomljanovic in the third round of the U.S. Open.

Sept. 2, 2022: Serena waves to the Arthur Ashe crowd after losing in the third round. 


Of course Serena dominated for Team USA, too. 

Serena Williams after winning gold at the 2012 London Olympics.

July 2012: Serena won gold in both the singles and doubles events at the London Olympics. 

Serena Williams serves during a match at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Aug. 7, 2016: Serena first participated in the Olympics in 2000, and her last Games was in 2016 in Rio.

Fashion. Icon.

Along with her own clothing and jewelry lines, Serena has continually set the tone with her fashion, on and off the court. Here are a few off-court portraits from exclusive photo shoots with Sports Illustrated

Serena Williams in 2019.
Serena Williams, in 2005.
Serena Williams, 2015

Serena: The Sports Illustrated Covers

Here is the collection of Serena Williams/Sports Illustrated covers from the past 25 years of her career. Click on each photo to read every Cover Story from the SI Vault.


Final Shot: The Greatest of All Time

Serena Williams salutes crowd at 2019 U.S. Open.