‘Serena Slam’ places Williams in the tennis greats

Serena Williams added her grand slam singles tally yesterday, taking the sixth Wimbledon title in her career. It is also the second time she has completed a so-called ‘Serena Slam’ where she holds all four major titles at the same time, an achievement she has not emulated since 2003. 

Currently at the age of 33, she holds 21 grand slam titles, only one short of Steffi Graf’s record and three less than Margaret Court. With the US open only a few weeks away, Williams could equal Graf’s record with a win and become the fourth female to claim a calendar grand slam. 

It seems glaringly obvious to award Williams the greatest player title considering her recent form, but when you reflect on all she has achieved from the start of her career to today, it is an accolade that is well deserved. 

A fight to greatness

The Williams sisters grew up in poverty stricken Compton in California. There they were coached by their self-taught father on public courts. A passion was born in the both of them and they worked hard to get themselves into the professional networks they both play in today. 

Better yet, Serena overcame a pulmonary embolism in 2011 and returned to the courts. Whilst her ranking may have dropped, her spirit did not. At the age of 30, Serena only had 13 grand slam single titles and today she has 21. 

Together with her sister, she holds 13 doubles titles and another two in mixed doubles. Her achievement list is quite simply breath-taking. 

Aside from the titles, Williams is an inspiration in the tennis world. She has fought back against her critics slamming her body shape, her playing style and mental attitude. She is the player most girls will name when you ask them about female tennis players. 

Better with age

Arguably, Serena has got better with age. In fact, she is the oldest player to become the world number one and her playing style shows why. With a ferociously accurate serve and a powerful return, Serena is not easy to beat. 

Her reputation means that many believe she cannot and will not lose a match. When previewing Wimbledon, the pundits all placed Serena in the finals. No one could see her being beaten. 

Indeed, she escaped defeat, but there were times she was rattled. Heather Watson challenged Serena in the third round, as did Victoria Azarenka. Even her biggest rival, Maria Sharapova seemed to crumble against her serve in the semi-finals. 

The final saw Williams face 21 year old, Garbine Muguruza and although the match was over in two straight sets, a late resurgence from the Spaniard in the second set saw the pressure piling on the number one. 

Even with this late scare, Williams pulled it back. No one in the women’s game at the moment can really match her skill and decision making during the matches and even though her career in the last fifteen years has had its tumultuous times, she has been a dominant force. 

There have been talks of retirement amongst the pundits but I honestly believe that Serena Williams will continue to play if she achieves the calendar grand slam. She is at the height of her career, playing some of the best tennis the world has ever seen, so she would be crazy to put the racquet down for the last time. 

Serena Williams is undoubtedly the best American female tennis player, but for me she is already in the all-time world greats and it is about time we started to shout about it. 

Watch Serena Williams defend her US Open title and try and achieve the Calendar Grand Slam from August 31 – September 13. 

Kettle mag, America season