At an age when most tennis stars are in their twilight, Serena Williams is as dominating as ever. She lost only one set in rolling through the French Open, is the reigning champion at three Grand Slams and is in the midst of a career-high 31-match winning streak.
Sports Illustrated called her the greatest women’s tennis player in history, and that was three years and one career renaissance ago. You can easily make a case that she’s the greatest American female athlete of all time. (Jackie Joyner Kersee, the one-time title holder, won three Olympic gold medals to Serena’s four.) And by the time she’s done, she’ll be on the short list of best American athletes of either gender.
Serena’s title at Roland Garros gives her 16 Grand Slams for her career, two behind Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert. She could match that total by the end of summer and will almost certainly pass both women over the final years of her career. Steffi Graf’s record of 22 is tougher, but not out of reach.
Let’s keep it conservative and say Serena gets three more majors, giving her a total of 19. Given her dominance over her era, her larger-than-life personality and a signature shot — her serve — that’s the greatest weapon the sport has ever seen, why wouldn’t Serena be on the list with Michael, Muhammad, Jack and the Babe? Discussions of the best athletes rarely include women. It’s a boy’s club. When history remembers Serena, she may break that wall.
It becomes an easy argument if she continues her roll in 2013 and wins Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, cementing her rule over the sport. But Serena Williams is nothing if not unpredictable. There’s no template for where things go from here.
For years, her father spoke of her outside interests and it felt like foreshadowing for an early retirement. Instead, Serena is in the midst of the most productive post-30 career the tennis world has ever seen.
When Serena lost in the first round at last year’s French Open, some in the tennis world began writing her career eulogy, the same thing that happens every time Roger Federer loses before a Grand Slam semifinal. But since that stunning loss, Serena has gone 73-3. And it’s not like she’s doing it against inferior competition. Serena has played the world’s second-best player, Maria Sharapova, six times in the past year and has only dropped one set. At the Olympics, Serena won their gold-medal match 6-0, 6-1. The lines set by oddsmakers at Wimbledon say she’s more likely to win than all the other 127 competitors combined.
Serena Williams isn’t slowing down, she’s getting revved up for the homestretch. Better start making some room at the top, boys.
In my personal opinion, Serena Williams is an athlete that we will never see again, and she IS the GREATEST FEMALE ATHLETE OF ALL-TIME!!!!! Let The Debate Begin……….