Serena Williams has not always had an easy ride in Paris. Through her dazzling victories and painful defeats, the American has formed a special bond with the French capital, a city she loves and where part of her epic story was written.
RG Champions: Serena Williams
Crowned champion in 2002, 2013 and 2015 and runner-up in 2016, Serena Williams is one of the greatest players in the history of Roland-Garros.
Bursting onto the scene!
Serena Williams was just 16 when she made her Roland-Garros debut. Following in the footsteps of her elder sister Venus, and with the same braids in her hair, Serena hit hard from the outset. In the first of her 17 entries in the tournament, the youngest Williams sister reached the Round of 16, the furthest she had ever progressed in a Grand Slam tournament.
Playing with astonishing power and determination, she could only be halted by Spain’s Arantxa Sanchez, who was World No.4 at the time and had already won twice in Paris. In this high octane match, Serena Williams was on the verge of victory when she took a 6-4 5-2 lead, and was just two points away from winning at 5-4. In the end, the Spaniard prevailed and went on to clinch her third and final Roland-Garros title a few days later. But Serena had certainly made an impression.
Doubles then singles
A year later, in 1999, Serena reached the final of the mixed doubles (with Lobo) and tasted victory in Paris for the first time when she won the women’s doubles with her sister, Venus. The two sisters triumphed again in 2010.
Having finally stepped out of her elder sister’s shadow when she won her first Grand Slam title in New York in 1999, Serena Williams, then World No.3, lifted the Coupe Suzanne-Lenglen for the first time 2002. She defeated her sister Venus in the final in Paris, and did so again at Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open, thus completing the Grand Slam over two years.
Crowned champion of the Parisian red clay once again in 2013, after her victory against Maria Sharapova, Serena Williams was on a roll.
In 2015, she beat Lucie Safarova in the final to lift her third Roland-Garros trophy, her 20th Grand Slam title. A year later, she failed to clinch a fourth title in Paris when she lost in the final to Garbiñe Muguruza.
Having given birth to daughter Olympia in September 2017 – with whom she is trying to share her love for the French language – Serena Williams has overcome a number of health issues and has gone on to play four more Grand Slam finals since July 2018, making her Top 10 comeback in February 2019.
Now the proud holder of 23 Grand Slam singles titles, this tennis superstar is just one win away from equalling the record held by Australia’s Margaret Court (24).