Born In Saginaw, Michigan
Williams was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on September 26, 1981, 15 months after older sister Venus. The youngest of the five daughters of Richard and Oracene (nicknamed Brandi) Williams grew up in the gritty Los Angeles suburb of Compton, where her father ran a private security firm. Richard Williams, long a fan of televised tennis competition, resolved that he would teach all of his daughters to play the game. The three oldest Williams girls showed only minimal interest in and little aptitude for tennis, but both Serena and Venus showed promised from the very start. Of her younger sisters' enthusiasm for the game, older sister Lyndrea told Sport magazine: "Venus and Serena took to tennis as soon as rackets were put in their hands." Their father taught his daughters on the public tennis courts of Compton. Both girls' skills developed rapidly, and by the age of four-and-a-half Serena entered her first tournament. Over the next five years, according to her father, she won 46 of the 49 tournaments she entered and succeeded Venus as the number one player in Southern California's competitive age-12-and-under rankings. It was not long before both girls began winning national attention in the form of favorable coverage in both broadcast and print media, invitations to prestigious tennis camps, and offers of lucrative product endorsement deals.
In 1991 Richard Williams, who has served as both coach and manager to his youngest daughters from the start, pulled Serena and Venus out of the junior tournament circuit, preferring to shelter them from the competitive pressures of the tour. Instead he opted to send his girls to teaching pro Ric Macci's tennis academy in Delray Beach, Florida. From 1991 until 1995 the Williams girls studied with Macci, who had also worked with Jennifer Capriati and Mary Pierce. While studying tennis with Macci, the sisters were home-schooled by family members. After a few years, they were enrolled at Driftwood Academy, a private, 30-student high school in Lake Park, Florida. In 1993 the Williams family moved from Compton to a new home in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. Serena graduated from Driftwood in August 1999 with a B-plus average.