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August 19, 2017

14 Fascinating Classic Photos of Young Venus and Serena Williams During the 1990s

Young tennis prodigies were no strangers to the covers of Sports Illustrated and other popular magazines in the early '90s. But the spotlight was cast even brighter on Venus and Serena, due largely to their humble beginnings in California's rough and tumble Compton neighborhood. Here are some fascinating classic photos of young Venus and Serena Williams during the 1990s.

All five of the Williams sisters were exposed to tennis at an early age, but Venus and Serena seemed to display the most interest and strongest prospects. Here the sisters stand with President Ronald Regan and his wife, Nancy. (Allsport/Getty Images)

Venus and Serena pose with Jennifer Capriati. (Ken Levine/Getty Images)

Citing the intense pressure of the youth tennis circuit system, Venus' father pulled her out of junior competitions. Some criticized the move, wondering how Venus would grow without playing against other skilled athletes. (Peter Read Miller for Sports Illustrated)

Growing up in Compton, the Williams sisters worked tirelessly to hone their skills. (Paul Harris/Getty Images)

Despite his desire to see Venus succeed in tennis, Richard Williams told Sports Illustrated in 1991 that he still wanted his daughter to have a real childhood. "Venus is still young. We want her to be a little girl while she is a little girl. I'm not going to let Venus pass up her childhood. Long after tennis is over, I want her to know who she is." (Peter Read Miller for Sports Illustrated)

In 1992, Serena, then 10, and Venus, then 12, stunned the tennis world when they each won their single divisions in the Southern California Junior Sectional Championships. (Ken Levine/Getty Images)

After several years living in Compton, Richard relocated the family to Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., to enroll Venus and Serena in Rick Macci's renown tennis academy. Macci had trained such pro superstars as Jennifer Capriati and Tommy Ho. (Ken Levine/Getty Images)

Venus was the first of the Williams sisters to make her mark on the tennis world. Armed with a staggering serve that topped 100 mph, Williams turned pro at 14 and went on to defeat 25-year-old and 59th ranked Shaun Stafford in her first pro contest, the Bank of the West Classic in 1994. (Ken Levine/Getty Images)

At the tender age of 15, Venus signed a five-year, $12 million endorsement deal with Reebok. In 2000 she signed another deal with the sneaker giant, this time raking in $40 million. The deal was one of the most lucrative endorsements for a female athlete in history. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Venus quickly achieved another milestone in 1997, as she became the first unseeded women's tennis player to reach the finals of the U.S. Open in nearly 40 years. Unfortunately, Venus would ultimately lose the championship to Martina Hingis. It would be another three years before she would snag her first Grand Slam title. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

In 1998, the sisters teamed up for the NBA's annual Celebrity 2-ball competition during All-Star weekend. Venus teamed up with funnyman Jamie Foxx, while Serena was partnered with actor Daryl Mitchell. (Henny Ray Abrams/AFP/Getty Images)

With more than two dozen Grand Slam titles between them, millions in endorsement deals and legions of fans, Venus and Serena Williams are one of sports' most dynamic duos. (Action Images/Icon SMI)

win professional titles in the same week in 1999. The duo scored victories in Oklahoma City and Rome on the same day in February of that year. (Bob Martin for Sports Illustrated)

Venus and Serena, pictured here with Lindsay Davenport and Monica Seles, helped lead the U.S. in its 4-1 victory against Russia in 1999. (John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images)

(via Sports Illustrated)

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