Serena Williams: Top Ten Moments
Originally published on 26/09/14
1 Maiden Grand Slam
Serena first made a name for herself in 1999 with a 6-3 7-6(4) victory over Martina Hingis in the US Open final. The then-17-year-old had produced one of the biggest shocks in tennis history and left Hingis stunned by her power and accuracy. “Those serves were, like, smacking,” was all Hingis could say of the powerful American.
2 Beating Your Big Sister
Serena and Venus Williams are arguably the most famous and competitive siblings in sport. It is the younger sister Serena who comes out top in their rivalry, leading the head-to-head 14-11 and most significantly winning six of the eight all-Williams Grand Slam finals. Serena first beat Venus at the 2002 French Open before clinching titles at Wimbledon and New York later that year.
3 Career Grand Slam
Serena has held the Career Grand Slam for over 11 years, having ticked off the last on her list at the 2003 Australian Open. Aged just 21, she beat Venus in three sets to complete the ‘Serena Slam’ and become the ninth woman to achieve a career Grand Slam. The only surprise was that it took her four years to achieve the feat; such was her dominance at the turn of the millennium.
4 Winning the Australian Open as World No.81
In 2007 Serena went to the Australian Open as the world No.81,having played only five tournaments in the preceding 16 months. She went on to win her eighth Grand Slam title, beating Maria Sharapova, the No.1 seed 6-1 6-2 in the final. In doing so, Williams became the lowest ranked woman to win a Grand Slam singles title for 29 years.
5 Return From a Blood Clot
Shortly after winning Wimbledon 2010 without dropping a set, Serena stepped on broken glass in a restaurant and missed the rest of the season. Her bad luck continued in March 2011 when she was rushed to hospital to have a large haematoma removed from her stomach, after a blood clot had travelled from her leg to her lungs. The life-threatening injury thankfully did not hinder her career, and she was back on court three months later, reaching the final of the US Open.
6 New Coach
Since French coach Patrick Mouratoglou started working with her in June 2012, Serena has looked better than ever. She employed Mouratoglou after a first-round French Open defeat and since then has won five Slams, two Olympic golds and is ranked world No.1 – not a bad return.
7 Olympic Summer
Serena enjoyed a golden summer in 2012 when she sandwiched Olympic singles and doubles golds between the Wimbledon and US Open crowns. Having beaten Agnieszka Radwanska in the Wimbledon final, Serena went on to claim double Olympic gold, beating Maria Sharapova in the singles final. She dropped only one set in winning the US Open later in the summer.
8 2013 Record Haul
Not since Martina Hingis in 1997 has a woman won 11 titles in a single season. Williams secured her last title of the year by beating Li Na in the final at the WTA Championships. The American also shattered the women’s record for prize money earned in a single season, reaching $12m for 2013.
9 Holding Off New Challengers
Maria Sharapova is the second-most successful player of this generation, but she has been beaten by Serena an incredible 15 times in a row since 2004. Victoria Azarenka has launched a strong challenge and lost in three sets in their two major finals at the 2012 and 2013 US Opens, while Caroline Wozniacki was beaten in straight sets at Flushing Meadows in 2014. Although we have had four different major winners this year, few appear able to compete with Serena consistently. Perhaps Simona Halep or Eugenie Bouchard will be the biggest obstacles to Serena’s future Slam hopes.
10 18th Grand Slam
Serena banished memories of a disappointing season by storming to the US Open title last month without losing more than three games in a set. She joined the illustrious company of Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert on 18 Grand Slams and confirmed her status as a legend of the game. Next target? Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 majors.