Serena Williams just won her 20th Grand Slam tennis tournament. This amazing performance has her following in the footsteps of some tennis women greats who came before her. Match the woman with her accomplishment.
____ 1. The winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles, she famously defeated Bobby Riggs in 1973 in the tennis "Battle of the Sexes."
____ 2. Called the greatest singles, doubles, and mixed doubles player who ever lived.
____ 3. Currently ranked number 1 in women's tennis.
____ 4. The first African-American tennis player to compete in the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon. She also broke racial barriers in women's professional golf.
____ 5. She won 18 Grand Slam singles titles and established a record for career winning percentage.
A. Althea Gibson
B. Billie Jean King
C. Chris Evert
D. Martina Navratilova
E. Serena Williams
The first African-American tennis player to compete at the U.S. Open and at Wimbledon, Althea Gibson started playing tennis at age 13 when she received a tennis racquet as a present. A gifted natural athlete, she won a tennis tournament a year after she started playing (1941). She became the first African-American tennis player to compete at both the U.S. Open (1950) and Wimbledon (1951), in spite of the level of segregation worldwide in the sport. In 1956, Gibson won the French Open, followed with victories at both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 1957 and 1958. She tried her hand at professional golf, becoming the first African-American woman on the women's golf tour. Gibson has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
The winner of 39 Grand Slam tennis titles, Billie Jean King is often remembered for her role in the "Battle of the Sexes", a televised tennis match with Bobby Riggs in 1973 (which she won). King took up tennis at age eleven and became the youngest winner of the women's doubles title (with her partner) in 1961. A strong advocate for pay equity between the male and female tennis players, she led the effort to establish the Women's Tennis Association in 1973. In 2009, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. King has been inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
Chris Evert won the first of seven French Open singles tennis titles in 1974. When she retired from tennis in 1989, she had won 18 singles Grand Slam titles, three doubles titles, and established a career winning percentage of 90%, a record. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in1995, she is well-remembered for her many matches with tennis star Martina Navratilova.
Said by Billie Jean King to be the greatest singles, doubles and mixed doubles player who ever lived, Martina Navratilova defected to the U.S. from Czechoslovakia when she was 18 years old during the U.S. Open. She had begun playing tennis at a young age and won the Czech national championship when she was 15 years old. Her first Grand Slam title came in 1978, when she defeated Chris Evert at Wimbledon. By the time she had retired, Navratilova had won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women's doubles championships and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles. A breast cancer survivor, Navratilova still plays tennis and competes in triathlons.
Currently ranked number 1 in women's tennis, Serena Williams became a professional tennis player at age 14 (in 1995). Her tennis training began when she was three years old. Her sister, Venus, is also a professional tennis player. Williams won her first professional tournament in 1999. With her 2015 victory at the French Open, she has won 20 Grand Slam titles, placing her third-highest in history. She has opened two schools in Kenya, takes a strong interest in at-risk youth, and designs apparel, handbags, and jewelry.
Learn about more she-roes and celebrate amazing women. All of these tennis greats are profiled in the book Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America. We salute their athletic accomplishments.
(answers: 1-B, 2-D, 3-E, 4-A, 5-C)
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