With her victory at Wimbledon this past week, Serena Williams cemented her standing as number one in the women’s world tennis rankings (she has twice as many points as No. 2 Maria Sharapova), and she is a win away at the U.S. Open from completing a calendar grand slam—a feat that has not been accomplished since Steffi Graf did it in 1988. Serena Williams is also one win away from tying Steffi Graf’s record of 22 grand slam tennis championships. Many pundits and commentators are saying that Serena Williams should be viewed as one of the greatest athletes of all time—regardless of gender or sport. She should be up there with Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Muhammad Ali and Joe Montana. So with Serena Williams standing on the doorstep of history, we look at six reasons why she should be viewed as one of the greatest athletes and competitors of all time:
6. She Defies Age
At 33 years, 289 days, Serena Williams became the oldest tennis player to win a grand slam singles title in the open era—male or female. She has now won majors in as a teenage (one), in her 20s (12) and continuing into her 30s (eight). In fact, the eight grand slams Serena Williams has won in her 30s is also a record—male or female. And she has an impressive record of 21 wins to just four losses when competing in grand slam finals—another record for either a male or female tennis player. Serena Williams’ performance in grand slam finals has led sportswriters to label her the “greatest closer in sports,” and for good reason. Even scarier, Serena Williams shows no signs of slowing down. There is currently no other woman in professional tennis who is close to her in points, wins or championships.