Born in Florida, tennis champ Venus Williams became a professional player at the age of 14 but it was between the ages of 20 and 22 that she dominated the sport - along with her sister, Serena.
Credited with bringing in a new era to women's tennis, Venus is known for her athleticism and strong hand, and is one of the discpline's all-time greats.
She had come to prominence in 1999 when she won the doubles grand slam at Wimbledon and the US Open, but it was in 2000 that she won her first singles title at Wimbledon - and between 2000 and 2001, she went on to win four of the following six grand slam tournaments held worldwide.
The powerful player now has 22 grand slam titles - seven singles, 13 doubles, and two mixed doubles - and four Olympic gold medals.
The media have often tried to portray a rivalry between the Williams sisters, and as two of the sports' best players they have played against each other in 24 professional matches since 1998 - four of which were finals.
One of Venus' most important contributions to the world of sport however has been her fight for equal prize money. For decades, men's grand slam winners have received substantially more prize money than female champions and in 2005, Venus met with tour officials from both Wimbledon and the French Open to argue for equality.
Her demands were initially rejected but following an open editorial in The Times in 2006 and a campaign by UNESCO with Venus as their spokesperson, Wimbledon and the French Open announced they would from now on prize both male and female winners with the same amount of money.