Tennis legend Serena Williams will step on the court for the 1,000th time in her career this afternoon.
She is set to take on Argentina’s Nadia Podoroska in the second round of the Italian Open, her first tournament since a semi-final loss to Naomi Osaka in the February’s Australian Open.
The 39-year-old Williams is still on the hunt for a record-equalling 24th Gram Slam title and will be hoping to achieve this at Roland-Garros, scheduled for May 30th to June 13th. For now, the American star will be continuing her preparation with her 1,000 match.
In honour of this landmark moment, GiveMeSport Women looks back at the career of the trailblazing tennis player.
First Grand Slam win at 1999 US Open
Williams has 23 Grand Slam titles to her name – her first came aged 17 at the US Open. Her path to the final had not been easy, with Williams collecting victories against Grand Slam champions Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martínez and Monica Seles.
She defeated defending champion Lindsay Davenport in the semi-final, before overcoming world number one Martina Hingis in the final. In doing so, Williams became the first black woman since Althea Gibson to win a Grand Slam title. The youngster was already becoming a trailblazer.
To win all four Grand Slam titles in a row is an incredible achievement, but to do so twice is almost unbelievable. This is exactly what Williams has managed in her career, first pulling off a Serena Slam in 2002 and 2003, before repeating the feat in 2014 and 2015.
Back in 2002, Williams won the French Open, going on to win Wimbledon and the US Open in the same year. Victory then came at the Australian Open in 2003. To make matters even more remarkable, Williams beat her sister Venus in all four finals.
Williams then repeated the Serena Slam by triumphing in the 2014 US Open, and 2015 Australian Open, French Open and Wimbledon. This is an astonishing accomplishment, but Williams may regret failing to win four Grand Slams in the same calendar year.
Australian Open victory in 2007
Perhaps the most astonishing aspect of Williams’s career is her ability to experience a resurgence of form when she looks down and out. This is exactly what happened to the star in 2007 after she fell out of the top 100, having missed five of the previous 13 major tournaments.
Having been plagued by injury, commentators did not rate the chances of the unseeded Williams at the 2007 Australian Open. She proved everyone wrong, however, defeating rival Maria Sharapova in the final to win her first Grand Slam since the 2005 Australian Open.
Olympic champion at London 2012
By the time 2012 came around, Williams had won it all, bar an Olympic gold medal in the singles competition.
She had competed at the Sydney 2000 and Beijing 2008 Olympics, earning a gold medal in the doubles alongside Venus, but went into London 2012 with a determination to triumph in the singles.
Williams did exactly that, once again coming up against Maria Sharapova. She beat the Russian with ease, winning 6-0 6-1 on centre-court at Wimbledon. To make the victory even sweeter, she also took doubles gold with Venus for the third time.
Australian Open title in 2017
Williams’s latest Grand Slam title was in 2017 at the Australian Open. She defeated Venus to achieve her 23rd Grand Slam, surpassing Steffi Graf's Open era record of 22.
Just three months later, Williams announced she was pregnant with her first child and would miss the rest of the season. All of a sudden, her Australian Open victory earlier in the year seemed all the more remarkable. She had been roughly eight to nine weeks pregnant at the time.
Congratulations to Serena Williams on her 1000th career match!News Now - Sport News