There seems to be a point when people run out of superlatives. It has happened with Lionel Messi – how many more adjectives can one come up with to describe the skill and ridiculous, sometimes unbelievable displays that he puts in week after week.
So too, I feel, is the case with Serena Williams and her complete and utter dominance of the women’s game. Serena is such a powerful and graceful athlete, and when injury-free has ridden roughshod over any pretenders to the crown in women’s tennis. What is also amazing is how she and her sister, Venus, have been around in the game for such an extended period of time, winning everything and more there is to win and setting numerous records along the way.
Think about it, Serena has won 31 Grand Slam titles – 16 singles, 13 women’s doubles and 2 mixed doubles. Amongst active players, male and female, she holds the most Major singles, doubles and mixed doubles titles. Her total of 16 Grand Slam singles titles is sixth on the all-time list, and fourth in the open era.
However, like discussing Messi’s record breaking goal scoring feats, mere statistics do not do justice to what Serena has accomplished during her career. She is an amazing athlete, who has been blessed with abundant physical and mental strength.
Louisa Thomas, writing for Grantland, summarises Serena’s competition very nicely:
Serena has no rival. It’s a truism by now. After the match, the response was satisfied but dull. Everyone acknowledged Serena’s greatness and her dominance, but the stories had been half-written in advance. What else was there to say?
Men’s tennis had the Federer era of dominance followed by the Nadal elevation and competition with Federer, which then flowed into the rise and rise of Novak Djokovic and let’s not forget the grit and determination of Andy Murray. This has meant that men’s tennis has had some iconic battles over the past five or six years like Federer-Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Djokovic-Nadal in the 2012 Australian Open final and most recently Djokovic-Nadal in the French Open 2013 semi final.
Maybe because of the fact that women’s tennis doesn’t have nearly as much competition as the men’s game at present, there hasn’t been a real recognition of what Serena has achieved. It’s not her fault that she doesn’t have opponents of the same quality as the men do – all she can do is beat whoever happens to be In front of her on any given day.
Serena is 31 years old and judging from her statement made after the French Open win, her opponents should be very afraid.
“I want to go out in my peak,” she said after the match. “That’s my goal. But have I peaked yet?”
The queen is still very much alive. Long live the queen.