The World No 1 and top seed to win her fourth Wimbledon singles title, at 28 Serena Williams has not done badly for a kid who started off practising to the sound of gunfire in the Los Angeles ghetto, spent her early playing years in the shadow of her elder sister Venus, and was plagued by low self-esteem.
Dismissing suggestions of pushy parents, she says she loved tennis from the start, her fierce competitiveness honed by a desire to emulate, and then surpass, "V". And rebutting accusations that she has drifted in and out of the game to suit herself, she owns up to periods of depression, not least after the violent death of another sister, Yetunde.
Yet while she reveals, she also conceals; no mention, for instance, of her notorious rant at a line judge at last year's US Open, which sits awkwardly with her statement about another match: "It wasn't like me to mouth off to an official."
Still, the pluses far outweigh the minuses. Serena's search for her own identity, including visits to Africa to explore her roots, took time, but it has paid off triumphantly.
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