The Williams Sisters: Who Is Better Between Venus and Serena?

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The rivalry of the Williams sisters is one of sports’ greatest phenomena. When they arrived at the women’s tour in the mid-1990s, they stood out not just because of the color of their skin but also their physical outlook. 

Despite the racist attacks they endured, they became the tennis’ iconic figures, setting the bar higher than anyone else had. Individually, they have always been compared to one another, leading to comparisons over who is better. 

Let’s look at their rivalry.

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The Early Life of the Williams Sisters

Venus is older than Serena. As of 2023, she is 43 and Serena is 42. Their father, Richard Williams, a coach, introduced them to tennis.

Venus was the first of the two sisters to turn professional. She did this in 1994 at 14, beating Shaun Stafford 6-3, 6-4. This was the beginning of her illustrious career. Venus’ made her grand slam debut in 1997 at the French Open but claimed her first title in 2000 at Wimbledon and her second at the US Open the same year.  

Serena turned pro the following year. She played a qualifying match at Quebec City against fellow American Anna Miller and lost 6-1, 6-1. She went back to the drawing board and remerged in 1997, a different player and one that would break tennis records. 

On her return, the athlete beat world number 7 Mary Pearce and number 4 Monica Seles and advanced to her first-ever Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) semi-finals. If the world hadn’t taken note, it certainly did in 1999 when Serena clinched her first-ever grand slam title at the US Open. She beat Swiss player Martina Hingis in straight sets to begin her run of 23 grand slams.     

This was the start of the dominance of the Williams sisters. Serena Williams retired in 2022, while Venus is still going strong. Let’s look at the numbers behind their success.

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Venus vs. Serena Wins and Stats

StatSerena WilliamsVenus Williams
Singles Titles7349
Grand Slam Titles237
Win-loss Percentage86.849.3
World Number One31911
Win-loss record363-54271-82
Grand Slam WIns H2H1912
Doubles Titles2322
Grand Slam Doubles1414
Olympic Gold Medals44
Source: Just Women’s Sports & Diffen
  • Serena Williams won 73 WTA singles titles, including 23 grand slams, the most on the women’s tour. She is one behind all-time leader Margaret Court who won 24. 

In comparison, Venus Williams won 49 singles titles, including 7 grand slams. 

  • Serena’s win-loss percentage of 86.8% is the fourth-highest in the history of the sport behind Margaret Court (90.7%), Steffi Graf (89.7%) and Chris Ever (89.0%). 
  • Venus’ win-loss percentage stands at 49.3%
  • Serena spent 319 weeks as world number one, the third longest time behind Steffi Graf (377 weeks) and Martina Navratilova (332 weeks). 
  • In February 2002, Venus became the first African American to become world number one. She spent 11 weeks on top but has never replicated that again. 
  • Serena has a greater win-loss record in the majors at 363-54, while Venus stands at 271-82.   
  • The Williams sisters were undefeated in the doubles. They won 14 grand slams.
  • The two are Olympic gold medalists, having won four between them. Three of those were in the doubles category at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Summer Games; each has a singles gold medal.

Overall, Serena Williams is the better of the two sisters in all aspects of the game.

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Venus vs Serena Head to Head

The Williams Sisters: Who Is Better Between Venus and Serena?
Serena Williams at the 2013 US Open. Image Source: Wikimedia licensed under CC BY 2.0

The first time Serena Williams and Venus Williams faced each other was in the 1998 Australian Open second round. Venus won the match in straight sets of 7-6(4), 6-1. 

Over the years, they’ve faced each other 31 times. Serena has overtaken her sister, and even in retirement, she still holds the advantage of 19-12. 

The last time the tennis world witnessed a match-up between the two was in 2020 at the Top Seed Open. Serena was the first seed, while Venus entered the tournament after Spanish player Garbine Muguruza withdrew drew to injury. Serena won the game in three sets.   

Serena and Venus have played each other 16 times in the grand slam. 9 out of 16 times, they’ve played in the finals, with Serena winning more matches. Overall, Serena has a better-winning record of 9-3 in the finals.

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Serena vs Venus’s Net Worth

Due to her incredible track record, you might already tell that Serena has a bigger net worth than her sister Venus. At one time, Serena was the highest-paid player in women’s tennis but Naomi Osaka has since surpassed that.

As of 2023, Serena Williams is worth $260 million. She’s made over $94,500,000 in prize money, an all-time high. Annually, Essentially Sports estimates that she made $8 million from tennis alone. 

Serena also earns lucrative endorsement deals from brands like Nike. Her eight-year contract with the sports brand was worth $55 million. 

This dampens what Venus Williams makes. Make no mistake, the figures are still huge but can’t compare to Serena’s. Venus makes over $42, 280,000 from prize money. Her overall net worth stands at $97 million.

So, Who Is Better: Venus or Serena?

Comparing the data between the two, it’s clear that Serena Williams is better. Even so, the two have always expressed admiration for one another. Both will be remembered for their contribution to sport as they redefined it in various ways. 

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