ICON Legends – Serena Williams – Queen of Tennis

ICON Legends Tuesday February 20, 2024 By: Harry Howes

As our ICON Legends series continues, it’s time to take another trip to the world of tennis to look back on the phenomenal career of Serena Williams. The American is undeniably one of the greatest performers in the history of sport, let alone tennis.

Williams won an incredible 23 Grand Slams across her career, making her the most successful female player in the Open Era. She’s just one major title behind Novak Djokovic and Margaret Court, who currently share top spot in the all-time rankings.

Having first turned pro in 1995, it took her just four years to claim her first major title. Her breakthrough came on home soil as she won the US Open in 1999 and she never looked back, sparking a new era of tennis dominance.

The GOAT?

Serena was almost unstoppable in both singles and doubles, winning a combined 39 Grand Slams across both disciplines. She spent a total of 319 weeks as world number one throughout her career, which adds up to more than six years at the top of the pile.

To this day, she remains the only player in history to land a Career Golden Slam in both singles and doubles. She claimed gold in both at the 2012 Olympics, beating Maria Sharapova in the singles final and losing just one game in the process.

In fact, such was her success, she even had a monumental achievement named in her honour. After winning four consecutive slams from the French Open in 2002 to the Australian Open in 2003, the feat was dubbed the ‘Serena Slam’. She repeated the accomplishment again in 2014-15.

Doubles dominance

As well as blasting through all contenders in the singles game, Serena was also a force to be reckoned with in doubles alongside sister Venus. Between them, the pair won an incredible 14 Grand Slam titles and went their careers unbeaten in major finals.

They particularly enjoyed playing at the home of tennis, winning at Wimbledon on six occasions. In fact, four of those titles came in the same year that Serena won the singles title at SW19.

Together, Serena and Venus also won three Olympic gold medals. While representing the USA, they secured the ultimate accomplishment at Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008, before completing the hat-trick at London 2012. As a result of her Olympic success, Serena remains the only player in tennis history to complete the Career Golden Slam on three different occasions.

Sibling rivalry

While Venus Williams was a phenomenal player in her own right, it’s fair to say that she spent much of her career in the shadow of her sister. The siblings met in nine different Grand Slam finals, with Serena claiming victory in seven of them.

Appropriately, Serena’s final ever Grand Slam win came at the expense of Venus. The pair met in the 2017 Australian Open final and Serena won both sets 6-4 to secure major title number 23.

In a demonstration of her dominance, Serena didn’t drop a set throughout the entire tournament and went out with a bang. She continued for another five years, including a comeback having taken time out to have a baby, before officially hanging up her racket in 2022.

Tennis has seen some phenomenal players come and go over the years. Fans of the sport will never agree on who the best of all time is, with everybody having differing opinions. However, there’s one thing that everybody can unanimously agree on and that is that Serena Williams is more than deserving of her place in the conversation.

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