17 years ago Venus Williams became the first African American player, male or female, to be ranked No. 1 in the world.
On February 25th, 2002, Williams rose to the top spot, overtaking Jennifer Capriati, after a stellar 12 months, which saw her win 56 of 61 matches and successfully defend her 2001 Wimbledon and US Open titles.
17 years ago today:@VenusesWilliams makes headlines by becoming the 1st African American player to be ranked No.
Williams’ winning run also included seven WTA titles: Miami, Hamburg, San Diego, New Haven, Gold Coast, Paris and Antwerp. She was the first African-American woman to rise to No.1, in either singles or doubles. "When you're on a professional tour, you don't aspire to be No.3 or No.
2," Venus said of her milestone at the time. "Normally you do your best to become the best. At this point, I am the best player in the world, so that's exciting and it's going to be mine at least a week. "I think the best part is that I've enjoyed myself along the way and that I have not limited myself just to playing tennis or made myself believe that that's the only thing in life.
I've always been doing things at the same time and having a career. For me, that's the best part." But Capriati would snatch back the No.1 ranking three weeks later on March 17, and the pair continued to overtake each other throughout the year.
Williams spent a total of 11 non-consecutive weeks at the top in 2002, before it was none other than little sister Serena who knocked her off the pinnacle.