She is the greatest womens tennis actor of all time and deep down even her biggest reviewers know it. Wanting it to be beyond any plausible justification is merely completism
Anyone who’s followed the women’s tennis tour closely over the last year wasn’t too surprised when Serena Williams came up short in the US Open final against Canadian ingenue Bianca Andreescu in her recent order to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major singles entitles. The only question enrolling Saturday’s match, same as last year’s championship clash against Naomi Osaka, was whether a wildly talented child in her first grand slam final could hamper her nerve against a champ twice her senility. And, same as last year, it wasn’t long before it was obvious Andreescu could.
Williams, who has triumphed grand slams in her teenages( one ), 20 s( 12) and 30 s( 10, a record ), but has been stuck on 23 claims- one behind Court- since the 2017 Australian Open, has reached the final in four of the seven majors that she’s recruited since coming back from the proposed establishment of her daughter, failing to win a set in any of them. She turns 38 at the end of the month and is no longer so far ahead of the battalion that another title feels inescapable. This is how boasts work.
Serena is not going to break this record. And that’s OK.
Williams is the greatest women’s tennis player ever, a point recognise deep down by even her most vehement pundits. The record, or, solely, craving it to be beyond any reasonable rationale, is merely completism. Yes, major championships are the sort of launched metric of greatness that sports fans dine on by mooring otherwise inconceivable cross-generational likeness, but it’s fair to consider that more than half of Court’s 24 entitles came before the Open era when the sport’s four bedrock happens admitted professionals to compete with amateurs. Eleven came at the Australian Open during a meter when many of the world’s best declined to enter due to the distance and comparatively time reward money on offer.
That’s not a slight to Court so much as context essential to grasping the scope of Williams’ body of work in a athletic that’s never been more globalized and competitive, an evolution that’s only accelerated since Williams turned professional space back in 1995. Yet it’s never been clearer the final steps to yardstick supremacy may be a bridge very far.” I’m, like, so close, closer together, closer together ,” Williams deplored after Saturday’s overthrow,” more so far away .”
Four summers ago when Williams triumphed Wimbledon for a sixth time to become the oldest musician to prevail a grand slam singles claim in the Open era, she improved to a nonsensical 21 -4 in major finals, redoubling her honour as the greatest closer in plays. Since then, she’s 2-6 at the final impediment. Of track it’s a testament to her greatness that she’s even playing that far into majors at an age when most actors have decamped to name-brand academies or the broadcasting booth, but there’s no question the loss of her finishing knock, for which she has no answers, is what’s hurt Williams the most.
The women’s field today is as deep as ever and the young lionesses of the expedition, who for years crouched in Williams’s presence before the first lump went up, are no longer terrorized by the sport’s grand dame. Last-place year it was Osaka. This time it was the fearless Andreescu , now the first musician digest in the 2000 s to win a major, who’s gone more than six months since losing a completed accord. It’s not going to get any easier from here.
It cannot be said enough we’re lucky to be living in Williams’ day. The storey of a black female Jehovah’s Witness from Compton, who came from nothing and sharpened her plane on cracked public the tribunals and persevered in the face of racism, sexism, illness and family tragedy to rewrite the stories of a sport primarily owned, toy and watched by rich white people, is the ultimate American folk tale: a champion of the marginalized sparkle on the international stage. Like Tiger Woods, she’s fetched beings into the orbit of a sport who never would have inconvenienced to watch a tennis equal. And she’s blazed a track for a new generation of African American idols, like Sloane Stephens, Madison Keys, Taylor Townsend and now Coco Gauff, who are no longer cast as strangers by default.
Surely it’s possible Williams grinds out one more major deed to tie Court’s line or even the two she needs to surpass it. We know she’s more than capable of beating any participate on the safarus on a leaved epoch. She will have more than a puncher’s chance at the notoriously changeable Australian Open in January, where she’s already been installed as the betting favorite, or the friendly grass laws of Wimbledon next summertime where her thunderbolt provide converts so well. Still, go operates short.
Nature may finally be catching up to Serena, but her true-life significance transcends trophies and leaderboards. Finishing on either side of 24 , now more than ever, is immaterial.