Another year, another grand slam title for Williams
Recently, Roger Federer won the Australian Open, beating his long-term nemesis Rafael Nadal in the final. In doing so, Federer landed his 18th grand slam title, a record in men’s tennis. In the female event, Serena Williams won the Australian Open for the seventh time, which completed her 23rd grand slam title, one short of Margret Court’s record of 24.
Williams has also won the coveted Wimbledon prize seven times, as well as triumphing in six US Open’s and three French Open’s since 1999. Her career has been nothing short of incredible, and even at the ripe old age of 35 (the same age as Federer) she is still going strong, continuously cementing her place as the world number one.
She may not have achieved the record just yet, but in some aspects, she stands on her own. Williams is the only tennis player to win 10 grand slam titles in two separate decades, and is the only tennis player to ever, male or female, to complete a career golden slam (the four grand slams plus Olympic Gold) after the age of 30.
The record Williams holds against her rivals further proves that she is a different level to anyone else in female tennis. Against Maria Sharapova, one of her closest competitors during the twenty-first century, Williams has beaten the Russian 18 times in 20 matches.
With Sharapova currently serving a drug ban from the sport, Williams’ biggest rival is now world number two Angelique Kerber, the German won her first two grand slam titles last year, winning both the Australian Open and US Open.
Below Kerber, there are only three grand slam titles between the world’s top 10, with world number eight Svetlana Kuznetsova winning two and world number seven Garbiñe Muguruza winning her first one last year, the French Open.
The gulf in class between Williams and the rest is staggering. Remarkably, Williams has won 22 of the last 61 grand slam titles to be handed out, meaning she has won over a third of the tournaments she has competed in since 2002. In the same amount of time, Sharapova has won five titles, making the Russian the closest to her in the past 15 years.
Williams is standing firmly on the brink of history: this year she will be looking to bring up a quarter of a century of grand slam titles as she chases down the record she truly wants. It only seems a matter of when, not if, she breaks Court’s record.
She will also be eyeing another unprecedented record in women’s tennis, as she looks to complete a super-slam in a single calendar year. In 2002 and 2015, Williams fell just short of achieving this as she won three out of the four grand slams available.
In men’s tennis, this has only ever been achieved three times, but not once since 1969 when Australian Rod Laver accomplished the feat. In today’s game, Laver’s success is considered virtually impossible to achieve due to the growing competition in the sport.
Despite this, Williams continues to dominate women’s tennis and could repeat the incredible feat of Laver this year. Even if she doesn’t, however, she will still undoubtedly go down as the greatest ever female tennis player, just as Federer is the best male to ever grace the court.