Each week, Baseline will take a look at a player who has thrived at one of the stops on the ATP and WTA tours during their career.
In her Hall-of-Fame-bound career, Venus Williams has reached nine career singles finals on grass, with all of those contests coming at arguably the game’s most prestigious event.
Wimbledon is where the American first became a Grand Slam champion, and her achievements there have established her as one of the greatest to ever step foot on Centre Court.
Williams reached her first major final at the 1997 US Open as an unseeded 17-year-old. However, her younger sister, Serena Williams, became a Grand Slam victor first, triumphing at the same tournament two years later.
By the time the 2000 season rolled around, the older Williams had firmly ensconced herself in the WTA top 10, but had been unable to replicate her US Open run. That changed at Wimbledon that year when the two-time quarterfinalist broke through and won her first major title over world No. 2 Lindsay Davenport, having defeated top-ranked Martina Hingis and Serena, as well, on her victory march.
A year later as the second seed, Williams defended her title, this time defeating the eighth-seeded Belgian, Justine Henin, in the championship match. The next two years, Williams was stopped in the final by Serena, and in 2004, suffered a shock defeat at the hands of Croatian Karolina Sprem in the second round.
Williams finished that season outside of the top eight, and her run of less-than-stellar form continued through the first half of 2005. Seeded 14th at Wimbledon, with her Grand Slam-winning days seemingly behind her, Williams nevertheless captured her third singles title at the All England Club, once again beating Davenport in the longest final in women’s history.
Her title defense ended in the third round in 2006 and a wrist injury hindered her results over the next year. Down to 31 in the world by the time of the 2007 tournament, but seeded 23rd due to her past successes, Williams claimed her fourth title there, knocking off Marion Bartoli in the final.
At the tournament the next year, Williams—the seventh seed—stormed through the field without dropping a set, including a win over her sister in the final once again.
Another all-Williams final went Serena’s way in 2009, but it seemed as if Venus still had many more finals and titles ahead of her. However, it would be nearly a decade before she reached another Grand Slam singles final, with her streak finally coming to an end at the 2017 Australian Open.
Proving that her run in Melbourne was no fluke, Williams reached another major final at Wimbledon later that year.
Garbine Muguruza of Spain stopped her, but not before Williams had proven to the world that she was far from done at an age when most tennis players would have long been retired.
It just wasn’t the singles court that Williams ruled at times. She and Serena won the doubles title six times together, with their most recent win coming in 2016.
Twice in her career, she swept the singles and doubles events in the same year, part of her 11 overall titles at the tournament where she shined her brightest.