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When talking about some of the greatest tennis players of all time, the Williams sisters are bound to be mentioned. Serena and Venus Williams have been top contenders throughout the nineties and well into the present. Yet, there is one sister who has a much more brilliant record than the other. So who is better, Venus or Serena? Let’s pit the unstoppable Williams sisters head-to-head and see who comes out as the best.
Venus vs Serena Williams’ Overview
Here is a brief glimpse at the tennis careers of Serena and Venus Williams:
|Venus Ebone Starr Williams
|Serena Jameka Williams
|Date of Birth
|17 June 1980
|26 September 1981
|Place of Birth
|Saginaw, Michigan, US
|6’1” (1.85 m)
|5’9” (1.75 m)
|Tennis Play Style
|Right-handed aggressive baseline (two-handed backhand)
|Right-handed (two-handed backhand)
|Year Turned Pro
|Highest Singles Ranking
|No. 1 (7 June 2010)
|No. 1 (8 July 2002)
|WTA Singles Titles
|Glam Slam Singles Titles
|Grand Slam Doubles Titles
|Olympic Gold Medals
|Estimated Net Worth
The Williams Sisters’ Rivalry
When asking who is the better tennis player, Venus or Serena, one of the best ways to decide is to look at the outcome of their matches against one another. Venus started playing in 1994 and Serena in 1995. Since then they have met on the courts a whopping 31 times—nowhere near Navratilova and Evert’s 80 games—with Serena winning 19 times and Venus 12 times.
In their first match against one another at the 1998 Australian Open, Venus won 7-6, 6-1. The last time they faced one another, it was in the 2020 at the Top Speed Open in Nicholasville, Kentucky. Serena won with 3-6, 6-3, and 6-4.
They have also played one another 16 times in Grand Slam events, including 1 time at the French Open, 3 times at the Australian Open, 6 times at Wimbledon, and 6 times at the US Open.
Venus vs Serena Grand Slam H2H
|6-2, 1-6, 6-3
|4-6, 6-4, 6-2
|7-6, 3-6, 6-4
As you can see from above, Serena has won 11 out of 5 of their head-to-head Grand Slam matches. That said, a lot of the scores are very close, meaning that these were incredible matches to watch!
Venus vs Serena: Tennis Play Style
Both Venus and Serena are considered to be some of the best female tennis players of all time. Let’s take a look at how both Williams sisters play the game of tennis.
When you think of Venus Williams, you might think of the aggressive player who displays sportsmanship, athleticism, and grace on and off the court. Her imposing stature puts her at an advantage against many of her opponents, and she has solid technique. Venus brings rapid serves and powerful groundstrokes to the game, though the second serve is occasionally her weakness.
At the height of Venus’ career, she could serve at 113 mph (182 km/h). Currently, she averages around 107 mph (172 km/h) but will peak at 117 mph (189 km/h).
She has a forceful forehand and excellent aim, meaning that she can drive the ball almost anywhere she wants it to go. However, Venus has a fantastic backhand, one that continues to inspire young players around the globe. In fact, Venus’ backhand is an important study. Very few female players before her were capable of generating so much force, so consistently.
Although Venus is primarily a baseliner, she has started approaching the net more often for volleys and finishing shots.
Over the years, Venus has lost some foot speed. Currently, while everything else is superior in many ways to other female players, she has lost because of her slow speed and less than stellar defense. She will rarely drop or lob the ball, as she relies on her speed and footwork to do the job.
Check out this video highlighting some of Venus’ best shots:
What makes Serena such a force on the tennis court? Her aggressive baseline plays. Like her sister, Serena likes to stand by the baseline and hits the ball hard and flat. The solid stroke from her backhand is exemplary, while her forehand generates loads of speed. For that reason, Serena often switches to her forehand strokes during lengthier rallies.
In the history of tennis, few players have been able to serve up doubles aces to the same level of consistency as Serena. Her serves are dangerous for other players, because she uses them consistently to get herself out of difficult positions. For example, at the 2013 Australian Open, Serena served a zinger at 128.6 mph (207 km/h) against Ayumi Morita, marking the third fastest serve in the history of the WTA.
The one weakness of Serena is similar to Venus: her baseline position puts her at a disadvantage in some instances. Should an opponent send the ball to the corner, she may have a hard time reaching it.
The video below highlights some of Serena’s finest moments:
Venus Williams’ Tennis Career
If you want to know who is better, Venus or Serena, it is best to compare their tennis careers. Coached by her mother Oracene Price and father Richard Williams, Venus had excellent training in the beginning. Aside from apparent talent, she also loved the game of tennis from a young age, and that motivated her to make it big. At the age of 14 (in 1994), Venus Williams turned pro.
Her first major tournament was the 1997 US Open, where she reached the finals but did not win. This was still a major undertaking, as Venus was the first female tennis player since Pam Shriver in 1978 who reached the US Open singles final on their first try. She was also the first unseeded US Open singles women’s finalist since 1958.
In 2000 and 2001, Venus went on to claim the US Open and Wimbledon titles and snagged the gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. At this point, Venus achieved another first: she was the first African American woman during the Open Era to achieve No. 1 in the world rankings. After Althea Gibson, she was the second of all time.
Having lost to her sister between 2002 and 2003 and then receiving injuries that put a pause on her tennis career, Venus would end up waiting until 2007 to return. Now, had Venus remained uninjured, she may have gone on to be a contender against her younger sister. However, time off for a professional athlete ultimately ends with them falling behind, especially when competing against their ultra-talented sibling.
Venus’ Return to Tennis
Having healed from her injuries, Venus came right back in 2007. She won Wimbledon in 2007 then again in 2008. Between 2008 and 2009, she played well but had no major wins. In 2010, Venus soared up through the rankings once again, becoming No. 2 in the world for singles. Struck with unfortunate injuries once again, Venus missed another four years of professional tennis.
Since 2014, Venus has been quieter than her sister with tennis. She has gradually built up her wins again, which lead to two final appearances at the 2017 Australian Open and Wimbledon.
In total, Venus has 49 WTA Tour titles in singles, putting her right behind Serena as one of the most active players in the world. She also has 22 WTA women’s doubles titles (most paired with Serena) and two titles from mixed doubles. That gives her a combined total of 73 WTA titles. Along with Serena, Venus is one of two active professional players who have reached the finals in each of the major tournaments.
Venus’ 2021-2022 Tennis Record
Since 2018 to present, Venus has been struggling in tennis (possibly due to her autoimmune disease), and the slump has pushed her far down into the rankings. However, that does not mean Venus is still not pushing for greatness. In 2018, Venus played her 1000th match. Injuries did take their toll, though. She withdrew from several opens, saying that she was not ready to compete. Due to this, as well as her 30th career match with Serena that she lost, Venus fell out of the top 20 for the first time since 2013.
In 2021, Venus Williams continued dropping in the rankings. She reached the second round in the 2021 Australian Open but lost and ended up falling out of the top 100 right before the 2021 French Open. She received a wildcard to the Wimbledon Championships, but due to Naomi Osaka withdrawing, she was upgraded to the main draw. There, she made her 90th Grand Slam appearance and also her 90th Wimbledon match win.
Serena Williams’ Tennis Career
Yes, Serena has very similar beginnings to her older sister, Venus. That said, the outcome of their training has not been the same. Serena went professional one year after Venus in 1995, and she won her first major singles title in 1999, at the US Open. Between 2002 and 2003, Serena beat Venus four times at the four major tournaments and went on to achieve both a non-calendar Grand Slam and career Grand Slam at the same time. This has been dubbed the Serena Slam.
Having suffered from injuries and personal issues, Serena faded from view for a few years, much like Venus. That said, she resurfaced in 2007 and was once again No. 1 in no time. She returned to the 2012 Wimbledon Championships, where she wiped the court clean with her opponents, and continued on winning through that year. She claimed an Olympic Gold, too, making her the first tennis player of all time to get both a Career Gold Slam in doubles and singles.
Between 2014 and 2015, Serena won another set of four major tournament titles, among other WTA tour events. This was the second Serena Slam of her career.
During the 2017 Australian Open, she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, putting her ahead of Steffi Graf’s record. At this point, Serena Williams decided to take a break from professional tennis and start a family. She returned to tennis afterwards and has been picking up momentum since then.
Record-Breaking With Serena Williams
Serena has taken the world by storm and continues to break records that had been set by other tennis greats. Notably, Serena Williams has been ranked No. 1 in the world by the WTA for 319 weeks, has finished with a year-end No. 1 ranking five times, and has held a joint No. 1 record for singles and doubles for 186 consecutive weeks.
Presently, Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles—the most of any player in the Open Era. She is only behind Margaret Court, who has won 24 Grand Slam titles outside of the Open Era. Within a few years, Serena Williams will undoubtedly surpass this record, carving a name for herself into tennis history forever.
Furthermore, Serena holds the most combined tennis titles of active players. She has 23 titles in singles, 2 in mixed doubles, and 14 from women’s doubles. Currently, she is tied in third for the most titles of all time and in second place in the Open Era (though, again, this is bound to change). Serena Williams has also two non-calendar Grand Slams (2002-2003 and 2014-2015), a Surface Slam (2015), and also is the most recent to have a Doubles Grand Slam (2009-2010).
Double Teamed: Serena vs Venus
If you were to try and decide who is better—Venus or Serena—just by their doubles matches, you would have a hard time. The Williams sisters were no doubt a powerful duo when partnered up for doubles. Together, they won 14 major doubles titles, becoming unbeaten in their regime. They became No. 1 in doubles on 7 June, 2010 and completed a non-calendar Grand Slam at the 2010 French Open. In 2000, 2008, and 2021, Venus and Serena Williams also won three Olympic gold medals together.
They both played mixed doubles for a while and did well, though. Therefore, it is difficult to tell if Venus or Serena is the better doubles player. Both of them have such strong play styles, speed, and athleticism, that they undoubtedly boost the level of whoever they partner up with.
Just take a look at this video below to see how Serena and Venus Wililams dominated in women’s doubles together:
It would be nice to see them play together this way again!
Venus vs Serena: Accolades and Awards
Both of the Williams sisters have been regarded as some of the greatest tennis players of all time. They have ushered in a new era of tennis, one where athleticism and speed and power is crucial to win. Each sister has broken records and received numerous awards and accolades for their amazing careers in tennis. More are sure to come!
Serena Williams has repeatedly been named the highest paid female athletes in recent history. In 2016, she made nearly $29 million and followed that with $27 million in 2017. The lump sum of her prize earnings is $94,524,403.00. In 2003, 2010, 2016, and 2018, Serena was awarded the Laureus Sportswoman of the Year award. In December 2015, Sports Illustrated named her Sportsperson of the Year.
Venus may not have won the same amount throughout her career, but she has amassed $42,173,992 in earnings. That makes her second to her sister. Several times, Venus was named the WTA Fan Favorite, Player of the Year, or Player Service Award. In 2015, she was the WTA French Open Best Dressed Player and the WTA Comeback Player of the Year. Time and again, she has been named among the most fashionable athletes (although Serena creates a stir with her controversial catsuits and bright colors).
Who is Better – Venus or Serena?
All in all, who is the better tennis player, Venus or Serena Williams? To be honest, they are both amazing, and you would be hard-pressed to find players with better serves and baseline play. That is not to say they are not without their faults—pun intended. However, when just comparing amassed titles, prize money, and records, it is safe to say that Serena Williams is the far better tennis player. Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam titles. Venus has only won 7.
Who is your favorite of the Williams sisters? Tell us in the comments!