Serena Williams won her fourth Wimbledon title today, taking out first time finalist Vera Zvonareva in an emphatic 6-3, 6-2 scoreline. “Hey Billie, I got you!” Serena called towards the royal box after winning her thirteenth Major title. She’s now sixth on the list of all-time Major championships, one better than her mentor Billie Jean King.
It’s time to get you chisels out, tennis fans, because Serena Williams belongs on the Mount Rushmore of female champions. Take a look at the list:
Margaret Court – 24
Steffi Graf – 22
Chris Evert – 18
Marina Navratilova – 18
Serena Williams – 13
Billie Jean King – 12
Serena won this tournament without losing a set, hitting 89 aces along the way. Watching her play today confirmed to me that her reputation as a “ball basher” is bunk. When I watch her play, I see a fluid, powerful and yes – effortless – ball striker with a solid all court game. There’s no doubt that Serena (and her sister) have transformed the women’s game with her power, but I think it’s overlooked how she’s continued to improve and transform herself. That’s why she’s still on top at age 28 and why she has a realistic chance at tying Martina and Chrissy at 18 career major singles titles.
Mary Carillo asked Serena about reaching the big 18 in her post match interview.
“I’m not even going for that.” Serena smiled, claiming that 13 is her lucky number. Yeah, maybe she’s going for even more.
As for Vera, she managed to hold her tears at bay, and she gave a lovely runner’s up speech during the trophy celebration (I just love how tennis uniquely expects its second best to be gracious and composed in defeat.)
“You’re a great player but also a great champion.” Vera told Serena. The Russian also showed a healthy dose of disappointment – Vera was not just happy to be there, despite her underdog status. “I didn’t show my best today but Serena didn’t allow me to show my best.”
Guess that’s what happens when you face the Best.
Some consolation prize: Vera Zvonareva and partner Elena Vesnina are taking to Centre Court this afternoon for the ladies’ doubles final vs. Vania King/Yaroslava Shvedova. Vera and her partner upset the Williams sisters in the quarterfinals.
Fist bumps to Jurgen Melzer and Philipp Petzschner for winning the Gentlemen’s doubles title vs. Robert Lindstedt and Horia Tecau.