With 23 Grand Slam singles titles, she has won more than any other tennis player – male or female – in the Open Era. Incredibly, Williams first became the top-ranked female tennis player in the world in 2002 and is still going strong today.
Williams’ incredible power in both her serve and ground strokes has taken the women’s game to new levels of physicality.
And yet Serena’s sometime combative media interviews, and occasional angry outbursts, have made her unpopular with some tennis fans.
When Williams gave birth to her first child Alexis Olympia Ohanian last September - and then revealed that she had severe complications that laid her low for six weeks – most people presumed her career was nearing an end.
The 36-year-old returned to action early this year, however, and competed in both the French Open and the Wimbledon Championships this summer. Indeed she reached the final of the latter. Only one mother has won Wimbledon in its history – Evonne Goolagong in 1980 – and she was 28 at the time.
But what was even more noticeable was a new, softer approach to her media work. In July, around Wimbledon, Williams gave open and frank interviews – broadcast, newspapers and magazines - about being a mother and the hardship it entails.
Serena has transformed her brand into a modern everywoman who empathises with women everywhere who are balancing challenging careers and the demands of nurturing young children in a tough world.