No.1 Spotlight: Serena Williams
Published June 20, 2013 12:00
When Serena Williams suffered a surprise defeat to Samantha Stosur in the 2011 US Open final, there were whispers that, after over a decade at the top, perhaps her best days were now behind her. Williams responded to these suggestions as only she knows how, producing arguably the best tennis of her career to cement her status among the very best in the history of the game.
As remarkable as her silverware collection is Williams' longevity; the American made her professional debut back in 1995 at the tender age of 14 and, despite several serious injuries, has spent the vast majority of the following decade and a half perched at the very top of the game.
Williams' big breakthrough came at the 1999 US Open and at the time of writing her major haul stands at 16. The most recent of these came at this year's French Open and by the time she hangs up her racquets for good she is sure to be worthy of consideration as one of the very best players of all time.
• Holds 16 Grand Slam singles titles, which is the most among active players, the fourth most of the Open Era and the sixth most in history. Completed 'Serena Slam' of all four Grand Slam titles in a row - 2002 Roland Garros, Wimbledon, US Open and 2003 Australian Open - making her the fifth player to hold all four titles at the same time. Her five Australian Open titles is the most of the Open Era
• Ranks 10th all-time for most WTA titles in the Open Era with 52, which is the most among active players
• Has won season-ending WTA Championships three times - in 2001, 2009 and 2012
• First ascended to No.1 on July 8, 2002 and has spent the sixth most weeks all-time atop the rankings. She became the oldest woman to top the rankings when she returned to No.1 on Feb. 18, 2013 as a 31-year-old. Her five-year gap in between stints at No.1 from 2003 to 2008 is the biggest of all time. Finished as year-end No.1 in 2002 and 2009. Simultaneously held both singles and doubles World No.1 rankings for nine weeks in the summer of 2010, making her the sixth player to accomplish that
• Tied with sister Venus for most gold medals in tennis Olympic history with four (one in singles and three in doubles with Venus)
• Is one of three players to have beaten Top 3 players in the world at the same event, having done so at 2002 Miami
• Her 16 wins over reigning World No.1s is the second most of all time
• Winner of 13 Grand Slam women's doubles titles (all with Venus), which is the third most by a duo in the Open Era and the fourth most of all time
• By winning the 2010 French Open, she and Venus became the third pair to hold all four Grand Slam doubles titles at the same time
• Winner of two Grand Slam mixed doubles titles with Max Mirnyi - at 1998 Wimbledon and 1998 US Open
• Is the WTA's all-time leader in prize money with over $40 million earned and is the first professional female athlete in any pro sports league to eclipse the $40 million mark
• Won AP Female Athlete Of The Year in 2002 and 2009
• Won Laureus World Sportswoman Of The Year Award in 2002, 2009 and 2010
• Won WTA's Most Impressive Newcomer Award in 1998
• Won WTA's Comeback Player Of The Year Award in 2004
• Won WTA's Player Of The Year Award in 2002, 2008, 2009 and 2012
• Won WTA's Doubles Team Of The Year alongside Venus in 2000 and 2009
• Has devoted a lot of time and money to charity, including opening two Serena Williams Secondary Schools in Kenya (one in 2008, one in 2010) and touring Lagos, Nigeria, and Johannesburg, South Africa, with Venus for 'Breaking The Mould' tour in 2012