We Celebrate Black History Month 2009
Serena Williams Becomes All-Time Female Athlete Prize Money Leader
By Mary Jane Orman
Serena Williams became the all-time female athlete career prize money leader in women’s sports by advancing to the finals of the Australian Open with a 6-3 6-4 victory over Russia’s Elena Dementieva. With her win yesterday and by reaching the doubles final with sister Venus, Serena not only eclipses Lindsay Davenport as the all-time leader in women’s tennis career prize money, but she also overtakes the LPGA’s Annika Sorenstam, who had held the record for career earnings with a total of $22,573,192. With her results to date at the 2009 Australian Open, Serena’s career earnings total is $22,753,575, surpassing Davenport by $608,840 and Sorenstam by $180,383. Davenport bypassed Steffi Graf in career prize money earnings in 2008, with the German having previously overtaken Martina Navratilova in earnings in 1998.
“I’m thrilled with the news! I remember earning my first check of $240 at Quebec City in 1995 and while I knew that I could have a great career in tennis, I could not have imagined or dreamed of all of this,” said Serena Williams. “It’s amazing how much women’s tennis has grown since I joined the Tour fourteen years ago. I am very proud to have reached this milestone for me, my family and all women athletes out there. This achievement really shows that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything.”
“This is an historic milestone not just for Serena but all women athletes,” said Larry Scott, CEO of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour. “Serena is one of the all time great champions in the history of our sport and this achievement is a product of Serena’s amazing on-court accomplishments over an extended time period.”
Williams turned professional at the age of fourteen in November 1995 and played her first tournament in Quebec City, Canada. In her fourteen-year career she has won every major title in addition to nine Grand Slams, becoming only the sixth woman, other than Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Monica Seles, to achieve such a feat. Of the current players, only Serena’s older sister Venus Williams comes close to such an achievement, with seven Grand Slam singles titles to her name.
In addition, Williams has won two Olympic Gold medals, both playing doubles with Venus Williams—in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008. Serena Williams holds 32 singles titles and 14 doubles titles. She passed the one million US dollar mark at the 1999 Roland Garros, later exceeding the $10 million mark in 2002 and the $20 million mark in 2008, both at the Sony Ericsson Championships. #