On Saturday (31st of January) Serena Williams won the Australian Open, and in so doing won her 19th Major title. This means that she is now second only to Steffi Graf in the list of Major titles in the open era (see my blog “Tennis roll of honours” which I wrote in July 2013 when Serena had 16 Major titles to her name). If people didn’t think it already, this now confirms Serena as one of the all-time greats of women’s tennis.
On Saturday she made relatively light work of Maria Sharipova, beating her in straight sets 6-3 7-6 (7-5 in ins set tie-breaker), and never really looked like losing the match.
As long as Serena does not get injured, I see no reason why she cannot surpass Graf’s 22 Major titles. As she has already won all four Majors in her career (including holding 4 Major titles at the same time in the 2002/03 season) It is even possible for her to reach 22 by the end of this year with the French, Wimbledon and US Open still to play. At 33 years of age, she is obviously approaching the end of her illustrious career, but as long as she stays healthy she should be able to play for a couple more years. She has already shown her incredible determination many times; not least when she battled back from a life-threatening accident in 2010 when she stepped on glass and suffered hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.
I cannot see her motivation subsiding. Even though she is regarded as one of the all-time greats, she has yet to win a Grand Slam (winning all 4 Major titles in the same calendar year), and of course has Steffi Graf’s 22 Major titles record to try and surpass. If she can achieve both of these before she retires, she could well end her career being considered the greatest ever female tennis player. We shall see!