Serena Williams beat big sis’ Venus Williams today in the Wimbledon final: 7-6 (3) 6-2.
Here’s what gets me: Serena Williams won her first Major title at the 1999 U.S. Open. And with a few slips and blips along the way, the eleven-time Slam champ remains the dominant player on tour. To put this in perspective, fast forward to 2013, ten years after Roger Federer won his first Major title, and imagine him dropping only one set on the way to the Wimbledon final, beating a five-time Champ in straight sets and coming out the favorite for every Major tournament in the foreseeable future.
Even an ardent Fedophile would agree: That’s just crazy.
Serena called it “exciting,” in today’s press conference, and marveled at her longevity:
Q. Do you still feel at that level (of dominance)? How do you compare the feelings of those two different dominant eras?
SERENA WILLIAMS: I feel like I’m a little bit of a better player because I’m more experienced now and I know more what to do and I know how to play the tough moments. Competition I think is even better now. I mean, there’s so many great players that are winning every week.
Whether we accept Serena’s quality assessment or not, there’s no arguing that the game has become more physical, more powerful and more dependent on fitness than ever before. Big Babes like Lindsey Davenport and Monica Seles transformed the game and transformed themselves along with it – heirs apparent like Dinara Safina and Ana Ivanovic have found real success only after finding their fitness. It would be easy to fizzle or “waist” away but Serena’s managed to dominate no matter what her dress size. Sometimes it has more to do with heart than resting heart rate, as she proved with her gutsy semifinal win over the iron clad Elena Dementieva.
The Big Question: Is Serena Williams a G.O.A.T contender? Because even if the players are bigger and more powerful today – and the game more degenerating on the body – she still has some work to do. Billie Jean King’s 12 Major singles titles may be one U.S. Open away, but that’s just a pit stop on the route towards Evert’s and Navratilova’s 18 or the promised land of Graf’s 22 and Court’s 24 (counting both Open/non-Open era wins.)
But unlike G.O.A.T. getter Roger, who’s on a mission for a (measly) 15 Majors, Serena says that she isn’t playing for history. . .yet:
Q. Do you feel like you have the hunger and the desire to maybe chase down Martina’s or Chrissy’s 18?
SERENA WILLIAMS: Since the beginning of my career, I never said I wanted to chase down their records. But, you know, that’s a long ways away. So many tough players, and Venus. You know, I don’t think about that. I’m just taking it one at a time. I mean, I’m really excited to now have just won Wimbledon.
You’re asking me about 18. I’m only at 11 (laughter). They’re such great players. Like I said, when I think of those people, I don’t really mention myself yet.
Of course, Serena might change her outlook if she keeps winning Majors. And if she’s telling the truth that her career may be over “in like, 20 years.”
Tennis phenoms around the world are shaking in their Nikes, wondering if they’ll face Serena Williams in the 2029 Wimbledon Final.
Oh, and the Sisters’ doubles resume keeps growing, too. Venus and Serena won their fourth Wimbledon doubles title today (over Stosur/Stubbs) and their tenth Major doubles title total, becoming the fifth winning-est doubles team in history.
Given the evidence, what’s your assessment?