Serena Williams retires from tennis. Most likely, the US Open was her last tournament – but this is not certain. In her announcement, the American did not say the specific moment of leaving, and in an interview after it, she deliberately spoke vaguely.
One thing is clear – the end of a great career that began back in 1995.
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And in the end, she decided to make some noise. In the second round in New York, the American, who will turn 41 on September 26, beat the second racket of the world Anette Kontaveit – 7:6, 2:6, 6:2. It is impossible to say that Kontaveit played badly, but Serena Williams still turned out to be better than one of the best in the world. And the way she moved in long draws in the third set is simply magnificent.
But in the third round, Serena Williams was stopped by Ayla Tomlyanovic – 5:7, 7:6, 1:6. The Australian had probably the best match of her career and demonstrated psychological power never seen before. The match lasted three hours, and in the third set Serena was already clearly tired, but in the last game she reminded everyone that she was a beast. Tomljanovich needed six match points, because the American played the first five with brilliant attacks.
It is clear that Serena Williams is the greatest tennis player of her era. And quite possibly the greatest tennis player in history.
Comparisons are inappropriate
Comparing tennis players from different historical periods is a thankless task. Indeed, over time, styles, technologies, and indeed the context in which these people perform are changing.
For example, Serena has 23 Grand Slam titles. According to this indicator, she is not the best in history – Margaret Court has 24 titles of this level. But the context is important: Court won 13 titles before 1968 and the start of the Open Era, when only amateurs were allowed on the Helmets. In addition, she took 11 titles at the Australian Open, which most of the top players of her time missed.
So there is a very strong case for Serena being the greatest even though she has won fewer Slams than Court.
Differences from others
There is one thing in which Serena Williams has no and had no equal. Longevity.
In the list of the ten oldest grand slam tournament champions, she takes seven places – including the first four. In general, after the 30th anniversary, she won a record and, frankly, a phenomenal 10 slams.
She is also the oldest first racket in the history of women’s tennis – the last time she was in the lead in the ranking was 35 years and 224 days.
In general, it can be said that the period from 30 to 35 years old was the most successful and dominant period of her career. In 2012-2017, Serena Williams won 92% of matches overall and 89% of matches against the top 10. During this time, she held 66 tournaments, of which she won exactly half.