Serena: Greatest Female Athlete of All Time?

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By Collin Shamley

With a straight sets victory over Caroline Wozniaki on Sunday, Serena Williams won her sixth US Open and third in a row. What makes this win impressive is that Williams never lost a set.

In fact, she never even faced a set point. Williams is clearly the best female tennis player of her generation. But where does she rank amongst the all-time greats?

Serena’s US Open win ties her with Chris Evert and Martina Navrativlova on the list of grand slams won. Serena however has the edge over Evert in major in doubles, 13 titles compared to only 3 for Evert.

More importantly, Evert falls on the short end against her greatest rival, who happens to be Navrativlova. Evert has losing record against her overall and in majors. Although Serena and Martina have the same number of majors, Martina won her 18 in 67 played while Serena won hers playing in only 56.

Steffi Graf has the most grand slams in the Open era, with 22. Each of her major wins were well deserved, there’s no doubting that. There is however a question of how many grand slams she would still have if her rival, Monica Salas had not been stabbed by a crazed fan and ultimately traumatized thereafter.

Before the incident Monica won eight of the eleven grand slams in which she played. Afterwards, she only won one. Graf on the other hand, won 11 grand slams after the incident. It’s only fair to assume Graf would end up with fewer majors at the end of her career.

Williams’s closest rivals are her sister Venus and Justine Henin, each of whom have 11 fever slams. Throughout Serena’s career, her biggest rival has really been herself.

When she plays her best, no one can beat her. Her opponents just have to hope that she’s having an off day. Even then, it’s still a task for most players to have a legitimate chance.

What makes Serena so dominant? She has the greatest serve in the history of women’s tennis. Yes, her serve is fast but what makes it her greatest weapon is that her serve is impossible to read.

Her toss is always the same so her opponents have to guess the type of serve and where she will hit it. Also, Serena’s fitness and movement have improved over the years, making her even better than she was in her 20s. Some may argue that she became a more complete player when she turned 30.

At almost 33 years old, Serena is still No. 1 in the world and still winning grand slams. She could have more than 18 if she didn’t have to miss almost a year due to a foot injury back in 2010.

Although Serena has had early round exits at every major this year except the US Open it looks like she isn’t going to stop winning grand slams anytime soon. Lets hope she doesn’t have another health scare like the one that caused her to pull out of doubles at Wimbledon this year.

If she were to retire today, it is safe to say Williams is the greatest female athlete of her time. With that said, she still has time to add to her legacy.

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