It’s always been one of the most incredible stories in the history of tennis, and on this day 20 years ago it was at its peak.

On November 11th, 2002, Serena and Venus Williams finished the season at No. 1 and No. 2, the only time in WTA rankings history that siblings occupied the Top 2 spots on the year-end rankings.

Serena, who finished at No. 1, had won her first major three years earlier at the 1999 US Open, but 2002 was the year she took her career to a whole new level—after missing the Australian Open due to an ankle injury, she swept Roland Garros, Wimbledon and the US Open, rising to No. 1 for the first time after her triumph at Wimbledon and holding onto it through the end of the year (and beyond).

Venus was right behind her, finishing the year at No. 2 after finishing runner-up to Serena at all three of those majors. She had actually beaten Serena to No. 1, getting to the top spot on February 25th and trading it back and forth with Jennifer Capriati for a few months before Serena took over after Wimbledon on July 8th.

After the season-ending WTA Finals in Los Angeles, one of the few big tournaments she didn’t win that year—she fell to Kim Clijsters in the final—Serena was asked to sum up her season.

“Obviously I had a decent year, but, you know, I like that I didn’t win today, because I’m so motivated right now to win the Australian Open,” said Serena, who—spoiler alert—won the Australian Open.

“It was like last year when I didn’t play the Australian Open, I got super motivated. I told myself I was going to win the French Open, Wimbledon, US Open. Sometimes for me, I need to take a step back and say, ‘keep going ahead and ahead.’”

The Williams sisters spent a total of 52 weeks in the Top 2 of the WTA rankings together in 2002, 2003 and 2010.

The Williams sisters spent a total of 52 weeks in the Top 2 of the WTA rankings together in 2002, 2003 and 2010.


Not only did the Williams sisters finish No. 1 and No. 2 on the 2002 year-end rankings, but they actually spent a year’s worth of weeks in the Top 2 spots together throughout their careers.

More impressively, it wasn’t just in the early years of their careers—they were in the Top 2 together as recently as 2010.

~ June 10 to July 7, 2002 (4 weeks): Venus No. 1, Serena No. 2
~ July 8, 2002 to April 13, 2003 (40 weeks): Serena No. 1, Venus No. 2
~ May 5 to 11, 2003 (1 week): Serena No. 1, Venus No. 2
~ May 17 to July 4, 2010 (7 weeks): Serena No. 1, Venus No. 2

And for the last four weeks in the above list—June 7th to July 4th, 2010—they were also co-ranked No. 1 in doubles, having won the last four Grand Slam doubles titles at the time (2009 Wimbledon, 2009 US Open, 2010 Australian Open and 2010 Roland Garros).