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Posts Tagged ‘Steffi Graf’

This weekend, the Australian Open saw both Serena Williams and Roger Federer make tennis history. Serena beat her sister Venus to win her 23 Major title, meaning she has now won more Majors than any women in the Open era. The following day, Federer beat Rafa Nadal to win his 18th Major title, extending his lead over other men in tennis history. Both finals were like a throw-back to 10 years ago, no one would have imagined finals involving the Williams sisters and Federer and Nadal.

Sublime Serena

Anyone who has read my blogposts on tennis knows that I am a huge fan of Serena. However, I found myself hoping that her sister Venus would win on Saturday, a strange position to find myself. It’s not that I didn’t want Serena to win her 23 Major title, I did ver much. But, I also thought that this could be Venus’ last chance at a Major title, she seems much closer to retiring than her younger sister, partly because she battles with an auto-immune disease.

However, the fairytale of Venus winning was not to be; her younger sister overpowered her in two sets to take a well-deserved title and hence become the winner of an incredible 23 Major titles. This takes her clear of Steffi Graf, and so Serena is now the greatest woman tennis player in the Open era. Only Margaret Court has won more Majors, but she won hers during the time when tennis was not open, so one could argue (as I would), that Court was not playing against all of the best women players, some of whom had turned professional.

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Serena Williams won her 23 Major title, moving one clear of Steffi Graf and becoming the woman who has held most Major titles in the Open era. Only Margaret Court has held more, 24, but she won hers before tennis went open.

One of the many remarkable statistics about Serena is this is the 9th Major she has won since turning 30! This compares to Martina Navratilova, who won 18 Majors in total but only 3 after she turned 30. Serena shows no sign of slowing down, if she looks after her body there is no reason why she cannot carry on for another 2 or 3 years. Already, in my opinion, she has shown herself to be the greatest woman tennis player in history; but she would take great pleasure in not only passing Margaret Court’s 24 Majors, but obliterating it by winning 25 or more.

Federer vs Nadal – déjà vu!

After Serena v Venus on Saturday, on Sunday we had another trip down memory lane; a Federer v Nadal final. If you didn’t know it, you would have thought that you had been transported back to 2007! Both Federer and Nadal came into the Australian Open after very little competitive tennis, both having suffered injury riddled seasons in 2016. For Nadal this is nothing new, sadly his injuries have dogged his career in the last 3 to 4 years. But, for Federer to have an injury lay-off is something completely new to him. Ironically, the knee operation which forced his 6-month break from the tour was not sustained playing tennis, but instead by twisting his knee when he slipped in his bathroom running a bath for his children!

But, it looks like the freshness had done both a favour. With Djokovic going out in the second round,  and Murray in the third, the draw opened up for both men to make it to the final. A Federer v Nadal final is something that I am sure neither thought that they would see again in their careers.

It was a cracker of a match. Federer won the first set, Nadal the second. Federer cruised through the third (6-1), but Nadal came back to win the fourth. He even broke Federer in the first set of the fifth, and it looked like the writing was on the wall for Federer. But, at 3-2 down in the fifth, Federer raised his game, broke back to 3-3 and then won the next 3 games to take the final set 6-3.

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Federer beat Nadal in a thrilling 5-set match to win his 18 Major title. He now stands 4 clear of Nadal, and it is his first Major title since winning Wimbledon in July 2012.

Just like Serena, Federer showed once again why he is, arguably, the greatest tennis player the men’s game has ever seen. That is a highly contentious claim, and I would qualify it by saying that we really can’t compare eras. But, for my money, the only player from any era who could claim to be the greatest ever if it’s not Federer would be Rod Laver. Both Federer and Serena are 35; but contrary to Serena, Federer has only won two Majors since turning 30. I think Federer is closer to the end of his career than Serena, but if he manages his body and tournaments wisely I see no reason why he cannot win Wimbledon for a couple more years, he is still the finest natural grass court player around today.

Well done the oldies!!!

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Serena Williams has finally done it, she has equalled Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Major titles. It has taken her longer than most people expected, given that she had 21 after last year’s Wimbledon, but after three successive defeats in the intervening majors (one at the semi-final stage and two in the final), she is now equal to the great Steffi Graf.

Surely she will go on and win more; although she is now 34 she shows little sign of losing her appetite for tennis and for winning. Also, she is yet to win a Grand Slam, and I am under little doubt that she will try in 2017 (and 2018?) to do this, before retiring. Even if she goes on to win 24 or 25 or 26 Major titles, I think she would not feel satisfied of her legacy unless she can also hold all four titles in the same year.


There has been mention of Margaret Court’s haul of 24 Major titles. But, to my mind, this record does not count. Margaret Court did not turn professional until tennis had become ‘open’, and so from 1963 to 1968 she was not competing against some of the best players of her day, who had decided to turn professional. If Graf or Williams had many of the best players removed from the Majors in which they were playing, who knows how many titles they could have won. So yes, technically, Court won 24 Majors, but many of them were hollow ones, as she surely would now admit.

Serena Williams is a truly remarkable athlete. I love her passion, her energy, her commitment and her drive. I really do hope that in 2017 (or 2018) she can get her Grand Slam, which would not only cap a remarkable career, but ensure her at least 26 Major titles and seal her place as the greatest female tennis player in history.

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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.



On Saturday Serena Williams won her 19th Major title, putting her second only to Steffi Graf  in the list of most Majors won.

On Saturday Serena Williams won her 19th Major title, putting her second only to Steffi Graf in the list of most Majors won.



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!

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