🐐 The Greatness of Serena Williams 🐐
Dedicated tennis fans know her. Heck, even if you never watch tennis but have flipped on SportsCenter before, you know her.
We’re talking about Serena Williams. Maybe the greatest tennis player of all time - and undoubtedly the best female tennis player ever.
Start with her 23 Grand Slam victories, each one at least three times. Her 14 Grand Slam Doubles titles. Her 84.3% win percentage. A 343-48 Grand Slam record. Four Olympic golds.
Not to mention, the fact she has more Grand Slam wins than any woman or man in the Open Era. Won Wimbledon and the Australian open six times each. Oh, and she won a Grand Slam title while pregnant. Let all those accomplishments sink in.
Serena’s “supposed rivals” can’t keep up with her. Her resume is unmatched, her power is incomparable and she’s still going strong after an almost twenty-five year career.
To put into perspective just how dominant Serena is, let’s see what some of the game’s greatest players as well as her contemporaries had to say about her.
Rodger Federer Praises Serena
If Rodger Federer is talking about greatness, I’m all ears.
From Jason Gay’s 2018 Wall Street Journal profile of Federer:
“It’s been fascinating to watch. She had a totally different upbringing—I came up through Switzerland with the federation, she did it with her dad and her sister. It’s an amazing story unto itself—and then she became one of the greatest, if not the greatest tennis player of all time.”
So, did Federer, considered by some to be the tennis GOAT, just suggest Serena was the GOAT? Did he mean GOAT on the women’s side—or overall?
“Overall,” Federer clarifies. He ticks off the staggering stats of players like Williams and Steffi Graf, which eclipse those of anyone in men’s tennis, especially when one factors in all of Serena’s doubles titles.
Serena has always praised Venus for her impact on her career. Going as far as to say she's the reason the Williams sisters are what they are.
“There’s no way I would be at 23 without her,” Serena Williams said after beating her sister in the Australian Open to win her record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam in 2017. “There’s no way I would be at one without her. There’s no way I would be anything without her.
“She’s the only reason the Williams sisters exist.”
But as former world No. 1 with 7 Grand Slam titles in her own right, Venus knows her tennis and she also appreciates her little sister's greatness.
“When I’m on the court with her, I’m playing the best competitor in the game.”
Maria Sharapova Chimes In
For years, Sharapova and Serena had an intense and sometimes bitter rivalry. While the on-court competition titled towards Serena, who won 20 of their 23 head-to-head matchups, Sharapova was still considered one of the game’s elite players at the time.
After losing to Serena in the 2015 Australian Open
“If I’m getting to the finals of Grand Slams and setting myself up to play Serena, I’m happy in that position. I love the competition. I love playing against the best, and at the moment, she is.”
Caroline Wozniaki is no stranger to great tennis as a former world number one and major champion, but playing against Serena is a level above great tennis - it’s flawless. As Serena was heading towards her 24th Grand Slam title, Wozniacki had this to say about the GOAT.
“I think that when you’re going into a Grand Slam final, you’re fighting for your 24th Slam, you’re fighting to be, on paper, the best player to ever have played the game – in my opinion, I think she already is…”
The Next Generation
One of the things about the GOATs of any sport is that they inspire the next generation, just like Joran inspired Kobe and LeBron, Serena has inspired her own younger generation of female tennis players, just ask players like Madison Keys and Naomi Osaka.
Keys regarded Serena as her childhood idol, as she was inspired to start playing tennis after seeing the dresses Venus Williams was wearing at Wimbledon on TV.
“Serena's always been one of the best, and she will forever be one of the best tennis players in women's tennis.”
As one of tennis’s fastest rising stars - men’s or women’s - Osaka might one day be the heir apparent to William’s throne. The two even squared off in the 2018 US Open, with Osaka beating her childhood idol.
“For me, it’s, like, no secret that Serena is my favorite, I don’t think there is ever going to be another Serena Williams.”