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LONDON - JULY 02: Venus Williams of USA celebrates winning by jumping in the air against Lindsay Davenport of USA during the Ladies Final on twelfth day of the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship on July 2, 2005 at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in London. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Happy Birthday Venus Williams!

PALM BEACH GARDENS, FL, USA - With her most beloved Grand Slam right around the corner, could there be a more appropriate time for Venus Williams’ birthday? The WTA legend - who’s still going very strong - came into the world 37 years ago on June 17, 1980, in Lynwood, California.

From her very first professional tournament Venus came out swinging. As a 14-year-old at the WTA event in Oakland, California in 1994, she won her first match and had then-World No.2 Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario on the ropes in her second match - she led, 6-2 3-1 - before falling in three sets.

The rest is history - she reached her first Grand Slam final at the US Open in 1997, won her first four majors in 2000 and 2001 (Wimbledon and US Open both years), reached No.1 in 2002 and has since won three more majors, at Wimbledon in 2005, 2007 and 2008, to bring her career haul to seven.

And she’s still going strong. Earlier this year at the Australian Open she became the second-oldest woman to reach a Grand Slam final in the Open Era, falling to Serena Williams, and at Miami in March she became the oldest woman ever to beat a reigning World No.1 with her win over Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals. The former No.1 is currently ranked just outside the Top 10 at No.11.

Can Venus continue her 2017 renaissance at Wimbledon in a few weeks? Stay tuned…

For now, let’s celebrate the seven-time Grand Slam champion’s birthday with this blast from the past:

And here are a few throwbacks to what the world was like on June 17, 1980, the day Venus was born:

- The World No.1s were Bjorn Borg and Martina Navratilova.

- Serena Williams wouldn’t be born for another 15 months.

- J.R. had been shot on Dallas but no one knew who did it yet.

- The No.1 movie at the US box office was The Empire Strikes Back.

- And this was the No.1 song on the Billboard Hot 100:

Read more articles by John Berkok

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