Serena Williams, beat World No 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-2, 2-6, 7-5 in an enthralling US Open final on Sunday to capture her 15th singles Grand Slam title. With this win, Serena merely underlined what she laid claim to some time ago: that she deserves a place in the pantheon of women’s tennis greats.
Sheer numbers are just one indicator of the way she has taken the women’s game and made it her own. Winning every title of significance in the book including the Olympics gold and notching up 15 Grand Slam wins is only part of Serena’s awesome story. What is equally important is the sheer domination with which she wins, simply crushing most of her opponents, through sheer physical and mental power. Also, one must not forget that in a game where speed is becoming all-important and champions getting younger than ever, Serena has defied age, to quell opponents more than 10 years her junior, with her spell binding athleticism and power. Serena’s feats have been so awe-inspiring that aficionados and followers only talk half in jest that she should play on the men’s tour.
She has proved herself on all surfaces and at every level, quick on grass and bludgeoning away from the baseline on clay courts, Serena is a champion for all surfaces and all seasons.
Then again fans will remember that not so long ago Serena stood on the precipice, wondering if she might ever play again, leave alone get back to her winning ways. Serena battled back from a right foot injury that kept her from playing in the 2010 US Open and battled blood clots last year but has dusted herself off and bounced back in a never-say-die form, giving credence to her belief that champs are not defined by how many times they win but how they recover after a fall.
More importantly, Serena is not sated. She says she is hungrier than ever for more wins and her opponents know that only spells trouble with a capital T for them.