This Girl-Power Roundup post focuses on the Black women who shaped women’s tennis into what it is today, from Althea Gibson to the Williams sisters.
Althea Gibson is the first Black woman to claim a grand slam title. Gibson began playing tennis in her teenage years and is a two-time national Black women’s champion. It was in 1950 after winning the national Black women’s Championship her second time that she was invited to and made her debut at the United States National Championship in response to Alice Marble’s (four time US Open winner) advocating for her participation, against the heavily enforced segregation of the sport. In 1956, she became the first black woman to win the French open, and in July of 1957 was granted the same title in the Wimbledon Championships.
Venus and Serena, Serena and Venus, no matter how it's said the clear image of these two sisters come to mind with just the mention of their names. The two sisters are now the muses of a new biopic following their childhood, and the timeline of how they became “Venus and Serena',” the women who shaped the history of women’s tennis. Venus Ebony Starr Williams with seven grand slam titles and Serena Williams with twenty-three, the pair have proven to be a power duo, both in their single matches, as well as their shared fourteen grand slam titles as doubles partners. The sisters became professional players at just fourteen, after years of training with their father.