By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
Serena, The Queen Of Tennis
The difference between the great athletes and the very good athlete is that the great ones will themselves to victory. Think of Michael Jordan who won the fifth game of the 1997 NBA despite having the flu or Ali finding a way to survive the Thrilla in Manila against Joe Frazier. Serena Williams has that same ability to will herself to victory.
Her sixth Wimbledon and 21st Major is proof of that. She faced a young, big server in Garbine Muguruza and the young Spaniard come out smoking as she broke Serena opening service game and took a quick 2 to 0 game in the first set. Serena turn herself around to take the first set and look on her way to an easy final win when she took a 5 games to 1 lead over Muguruza. Between having a case of nerves and Muguruza quick serves and powerful forehand, Serena started to miss shots that she was making in the first six games of the set. Muguruza broke Serena twice as she roar back, winning three straight game to threaten Serena hold on the match. Then came the Will, as Serena settle herself down and easily broke Muguruza service game to take her the Wimbledon trophy.
Williams is dominating the Tennis world at an age when most tennis player are planning their post Tennis career and over the past 13 majors, she has beaten the field eight times. She is one match away from the calendar grand slam and her fifth consecutive Grand Slam. Among men, the last calendar Grand Slam was in 1968 when Rod Laver completed his second calendar slam and the last calendar grand slam for women was 1988 by Steffi Graf.
Among men, Don Budge won six straight majors in 1937 thru 1938, the year that he won a calendar Grand Slam. (Note that until 1968, professional players were not allowed to compete in Tennis grand slams.) Since 1972, no male player has won more than three consecutive majors.
Serena has a chance to tie Steffi Graff for most majors won in the Open Era but she will also tie Steffi for most consecutive majors with five. (Martina Navratilova and Margaret Court are tied for most consecutive victories in the Open Era with 6 straight Grand Slam.)
A few years back, pundit Jason Whitlock viewed Serena Williams as a slacker who was not fulfilling her potential and to make sure his point was made, Jason Whitlock wrote, “At age 27—the same age as Federer—Serena owns just half as many major titles (11) as Steffi Graf, the greatest women’s player of all time.”
Serena always viewed her career as a marathon and at the age of 33, Serena still dominates women Tennis. Whitlock might have wanted to wait until the end of Serena’s career before deciding her place in the Tennis world. As for Graf, she never won a major past the age of 30 and Serena has won eight majors after turning 30! And her career is still going strong.
Beth Donelson, co-author of the Tennis book “Coming of Age, Andy Roddick’s Breakthrough Year”, told me last year going into the 2014 US Open, “The only person who can defeat Serena Williams is Serena Williams.” As the hard court season is upon us, Serena now goes for the calendar Grand Slam and looks to put her name in the history book as the greatest Tennis player in the Open era. From this point, Serena is not just competing to win majors, she is competing to complete her own legacy. Serena Legacy has stretched two decades from her first professional tournament at the age of 14 in 1995 to the present. From the first time she won her first major at the age of 17 to now; she has become the face of Tennis and the young Spaniard, Ms. Muguruza was still in diaper when Serena made her first appearance as a professional. And Serena won to maintain her title as the Queen of Tennis!