A rare picture of siblings and tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams when they were very young has recently come to light.
The Williams sisters have dominated the tour for over two decades. They have 48 Grand Slam titles between them (including 14 shared women’s doubles titles), and both have topped the WTA rankings.
Serena Williams was the one that stood out the most between them, with 23 Grand Slam singles titles under her belt. Venus Williams also has seven Majors singles to her name and is an all-time great, but she failed to match her sister’s achievements.
A very rare and unseen picture of the duo with their family recently surfaced on Twitter. It was taken during Venus Williams’ tour debut at the 1994 Bank of the West Classic. She was 14 years old at the time, while Serena Williams was 13.
In the photograph, the two sisters can be spotted taking a walk along a busy road with their father Richard Williams and mother Oracene Price, taking in the sights.
“I fell apart” – Venus Williams recalls her debut match at the 1994 Bank of the West Classic
Venus Williams turned pro at the age of 14, in the 1994 Bank of the West Classic, now known as the Silicon Valley Classic. She beat fellow American Shaun Stafford in the first round in straight sets, 6-3, 6-4.
The seven-time Grand Slam champion was up against Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in the second round. She was up a set and a service break against the former World No. 1 but eventually lost the match, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0.
In a 2021 interview with him USA TodayVenus Williams recalled her encounter with Arantxa Sanchez Vicario, noting that despite having a massive lead, she “fell apart” when her opponent took a bathroom break.
“[I didn’t know] what I was doing. I mean, I had a huge lead. She took a bathroom break, and I fell apart,” Williams recalled.
“I was young. Take a break on me now, it’s like, ‘Great! You can keep going.’ But at the time, would I have won that match without the break?
However, Williams quickly added that the loss had taught her some valuable lessons, noting that the match inspired her to keep growing and taught her not to be too hard on herself.
“I just remember distinctly thinking, ‘Gosh, I should have won that match. I shouldn’t be going home’,” she said.
“And I knew I had to improve myself. I think that’s what I took out of it. It wasn’t anything I ever said to anyone, but inside, I knew that I should have won. So I guess I was hard on myself at the time,” she added.