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Michelle S. Hite

tennis player and fashion designer. When Serena Jameka Williams won the U.S. Open in 1999, it marked a spectacular achievement. She was the lowest-seeded player to capture the title since 1968 and was the first African American woman to win a Grand Slam title since Althea Gibson in 1958. Williams's achievement was further distinguished by her humble origins.

The wealth and privilege associated with tennis were worlds away from the dilapidated public courts in Compton, California, a crime infested, distressed inner-city district near south central Los Angeles where Serena learned to play. As the youngest daughter of Oracene and Richard Williams, Serena, like her older sisters Yetunde, Isha, Lyndrea, and Venus was a willing participant in Richard Williams s dream of turning his daughters into tennis champions Virginia Ruzici s $30 000 prize for winning one tournament sparked Richard s interest in ...

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Michelle S. Hite

tennis player, fashion designer, and interior designer. Venus Ebony Starr Williams gained national recognition for her tennis acumen when at age twelve she appeared on the front page of the New York Times and in Sports Illustrated after earning a number one ranking in Southern California's twelve-and-under age-group. Her precociousness in this sport of privilege was set in relief by her humble beginnings.

Williams spent her early childhood in Compton, California, a depressed inner-city neighborhood in Los Angeles that was troubled with crime. Tennis became a family aspiration when Richard Williams, the family patriarch, watched Virginia Ruzici accept $30,000 in prize money for one tournament and realized how lucrative women's participation could be. Richard soon learned the game by studying instructional videos and reading books. Yetunde, Isha, and Lyndrea, Venus's older sisters all played tennis with varying degrees of interest and success ...