CNN interviewed Serena Williams when she was 9. Here’s what she said about her dreams, her life and the impact technology has had on it.
When Serena Williams won the U.S. Open in 2000, she was 9. At the time, tennis was far from a household staple. (Photo: AP)
Even before Serena Williams took her first step onto the court at age 9, she had an idea of what she wanted to accomplish.
In 2000, she won the U.S. Open at age 9 while she still was playing in preschool. She was one of seven girls selected to play at the tournament—the only girl to play in a major women’s tournament.
That year, the game still wasn’t mainstream. Williams was one of 7,000 kids invited to the U.S. Open.
And yet she was the oldest winner of a Grand Slam, the youngest Grand Slam winner ever and one of the first females to earn a Grand Slam trophy.
Serena Williams is 9 when she took the courts at the U.S. Open and won her first tournament, in which she was seeded 6,000th. (Photo: AP)
Williams was a big-time star, an 11-time Grand Slam champion and an all-time great on all three surfaces: grass, clay and hardwood. There were no other girls out there to challenge her. In 2000, she was a household name.
And yet, at that time, just as today, she only had an idea of what she wanted to accomplish.
“I just wanted to win,” she told The New York Times in 2004. “I was so young. This is my first major. I wasn’t thinking about anything like being the oldest female champion or being the youngest female champion — not yet.”
And when she won the U.S. Open in 2000, she was still in preschool.
Serena Williams at the U.S. Open in 2000. (Photo: AP)
She was a teenager.
With Williams as her role model, I recently asked her to share with me the key things she learned from her mother, who was a tennis coach and a coach for her mother.