Serena Williams of the United States, right, and her sister Venus Williams celebrate during the awarding ceremony, after beating Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of the United States to win the final of the Women's Doubles at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Friday Jan. 29, 2010. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
Two of the world's most recognized professional athletes, Venus and Serena Williams, will be the guest speakers for this year's Chattanooga Times Free Press Best of Preps awards banquet.
The annual banquet, which honors hundreds of area high school athletes, will be held June 10 at the Chattanooga Convention Center. Tickets go on sale today and you can purchase them directly by clicking this link to our best of preps web page.
Last year the event featured record-smashing swimmer Michael Phelps, who has won 14 Olympic gold medals.
Serena Williams currently is ranked as the No. 1 women's singles tennis player in the world, while her sister is No. 4. The Williams sisters have combined to win 32 Grand Slam titles -- including 11 as a doubles team -- and three Olympic gold medals. Serena has won more than $30 million playing tennis, and Venus has earned more than $25 million in prize money, making them the top two female money winners in professional sports history.
They won 2009 doubles championships at three of the four Grand Slam events -- the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the U.S. Open -- and Serena is the reigning Australian Open and Wimbledon singles champion. She has won more Grand Slam titles than any other active female player.
The sisters have played each other in 23 professional matches dating back to 1998, with Serena winning 13 of those. Their meeting in the final of the 2001 U.S. Open was the first Grand Slam final contested by two sisters in the open era.
"It's an honor for the Chattanooga Times Free Press to have the ability to bring world-renowned athletes to town for our annual 'Best of Preps' awards program," said Jason Taylor, president of the newspaper.
"We know that these experiences assist in shaping athletes as they prepare themselves for the future. Nothing pleases us more than being able to honor the region's top athletes, and we look forward to welcoming Venus and Serena Williams to Chattanooga."
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Stephen has covered local sports in the tri-state area for more than 23 years, having been with the Times Free Press since its inception, and has been an assistant sports editor since 2005. Stephen is among the most decorated writers in the TFP’s newsroom, winning numerous state, regional and national writing awards, including nine in the last two years. He was named one of the top 10 sports writers in the nation at the Associated ...