It’s almost impossible to imagine tennis without Venus and Serena Williams. Both sisters began their professional careers in 1994 and 1999, respectively, winning numerous major tournaments and having a profound impact on the sport.
But as the saying goes, all good things come to an end.
Serena announced in August via a first-person essay on Vogue.com that her playing career was coming to an end. She didn’t use the word “retirement”, instead opting for “evolution” when describing her eventual exit from professional tennis. She said her desire to grow her family was a reason for moving away and suggested the 2022 US Open could be her last tournament.
Venus, however, hasn’t revealed much about her tennis future. After losing to Belgium’s Alison Van Uytvanck in the first round of the US Open, Venus told a post-match press conference that she was “just focused on the doubles”, where she will play with Serena .
On Thursday (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), the Williams sisters will face Czechs Linda Noskova and Lucie Hradecka in the first round of the doubles tournament. It’s the first night’s doubles session at Arthur Ashe since Mike and Bob Bryan beat Colin Fleming and Jonathan Marray in the men’s doubles quarter-finals in 2013. It’s also the first women’s doubles session since the Williams sisters lost to Nadia Petrova and Maria Kirilenko in the third round in 2012.
If Serena and Venus lose, it could be the last doubles match they will play together professionally. Whatever the outcome, the Williams sisters’ legacy as tennis legends is rock solid. And we have the stats to prove it.
Here are some numbers behind Venus and Serena’s Hall of Fame-worthy careers:
The Williams sisters
14: Going into the 2022 US Open, Venus and Serena have won 14 Grand Slams in women’s doubles as partners. The only duo with more in the open era is Pam Shriver and Martina Navratilova (20). There is an opportunity for the Williams sisters to add another Grand Slam in doubles with a win at this year’s US Open.
3: The Williams sisters won three Olympic gold medals as teammates in doubles (Sydney 2000, Beijing 2008, London 2012).
2002: After the 2002 French Open, where Serena beat Venus 7-5, 6-3, the sisters ranked #1 and #2 in the WTA rankings. It was the first time in WTA history that sisters held the top two spots. Serena finished the year as #1 and Venus #2.
136 930 533: As of Thursday, the Williams sisters have won a total of $136,930,533 in prize money during their career. Serena received $94,618,080 and Venus $42,312,453.
31: Serena and Venus have faced each other 31 times in singles. Serena holds the advantage with a 19-12 record. Nine of those matches were in a Grand Slam final. Serena has the advantage again with a 7-2 record.
23: Going into the 2022 US Open, Serena has won 23 Grand Slam singles championships. This is the most of any player in the Open Era (since 1968) and the second most of all time. Margaret Court is first with 24.
Serena could equal Court’s record if she wins the US Open. She has won the tournament six times.
367 and 73: Serena has won 367 major matches, the most by a woman in tennis history. She also won 73 career singles titles, the fifth among Open Era women.
4: Winning all four Grand Slam events in tennis is no easy task, let alone consecutively. But Serena proved otherwise. She won four consecutive major tournaments twice in her career (2002-03 and 2014-15). Steffi Graf is the only other tennis player to achieve this feat.
Four is also the number of Olympic medals won by Serena, all in gold. She won her material in doubles at the 2000 Games, singles and doubles at the 2008 Games and doubles at the 2012 Games.
30: Serena’s dominance after 30 years is a testament to her longevity and talent. Here are some notable feats Williams has accomplished since turning 30:
She has won 10 Grand Slams, seven more than any other woman in the Open Era.
Williams won the 2017 Australian Open aged 35 and 124 days, becoming the oldest woman to win an Open Era title. She didn’t drop a set throughout the event and performed while pregnant with her daughter, Olympia. Following her victory at the Australian Open in 2017, Serena was ranked No. 1 in the WTA rankings, becoming the oldest person to hold the No. 1 spot.
319: How dominant is Serena? She spent 319 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the ATP or WTA during her career. To put that into perspective, only four other players have spent more than 300 weeks as an ATP or WTA No. 1 player (Graf, Navratilova, Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer).
186: Serena spent 186 consecutive weeks as the WTA’s No. 1 player from February 2013 to September 2016. This is tied for the longest streak at No. 1 since the introduction of the WTA rankings (1975).
91: With a wild-card entry to this year’s US Open, Venus has appeared in 91 major singles events. This is the most by any Open Era player.
seven: Venus is a seven-time Grand Slam singles champion, behind her sister for most active players. He is also tied for eighth among Open Era female tennis players.
02/25/2002: On this date, Venus reached 1st place in the WTA rankings and spent 11 weeks there. She became the first black man or woman to hold the top spot since the start of the ATP (1973) and WTA (1975) rankings.
1: Opponents should not doubt Venus, even if she is a double digit seed. She is the only woman in the Open Era to have won multiple Grand Slam singles titles as a double-digit seed. Venus won Wimbledon in 2005 as the No. 14 seed and in 2007 as the No. 23 seed.
5: Wimbledon treated Venus well. She has won the tournament five times, the fourth among Open Era women. She follows Navratilova (9), Serena (7) and Graf (7).
Additionally, Venus is a five-time Olympic medalist. She won gold in singles and doubles at the 2000 Games, doubles at the 2008 Games and doubles at the 2012 Games. Venus also won silver in mixed doubles at the 2016 Games. Her five medals are at tied with Kathleen McKane Godfree for most by a tennis athlete.
ESPN stats and information contributed to this story