Only time can stop Serena Williams

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© Gettya

Only time can stop Serena Williams

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Vishwas K

07/14/2016

As long as Serena is enjoying herself on the court, there is very little doubt about her maintaining her dominance. After her 22nd slam victory, it seems that the only certainty that will stop her is the ‘Time’.

Serena Williams is one of those very few athletes who decides her own fate on any given day. She can utterly dismiss the mere presence of her opponent standing on the other side of the net. She is the dominant presence on the playing field, and last week's Wimbledon final was another re-affirmation act by Serena Williams, as she brushed aside the mere presence of the German Angelique Kerber.

Over the course of the last two decades Serena Williams has built such an aura around her that more than half of her opponents bite the dust even before entering the arena, and the rest take very little time to go into the inevitable submission.

“I felt like I had no chance. Her forehand cross court return is so fast, you can’t even finish your serve before the ball is passing you with a clear winner,” said Elena Vesnina after her 6-2, 6-0 loss to Serena in the semi-finals.

No doubt Vesnina was tamed at the centre court, but she had lost the battle even before it had begun. In the end, Vesnina proved to be a mere passenger. Like Vesnina, there are and there were hundreds who just couldn’t clear the mental barrier when they went up against Serena.

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On Saturday though, the story was slightly different. Angelique Kerber had already defeated Serena in the finals of the Australian open only a few months back in a thrilling three-setter. So if anyone could believe to better Serena in the grand stage, then Kerber was definitely the one.

Kerber put up a brave fight, playing much like her left-handed male counterpart Rafael Nadal by retrieving everything she could, how much ever low it came and how much ever wide it was angled – irrespective of the daunting pace of the Serena ground strokes. She made Serena play one extra shot each time a winner beckoned. But sadly, for Kerber, that wasn’t enough.

Also, read : Why Serena does not need a 23rd title to become the greatest of all-time

Serena took the game to Kerber with her ever reliant booming serves. She was also keen on getting forward with her approaches to the net, and was hitting the ball early, and deep, from the baseline to cause Kerber enough problems.

Despite her herculean efforts, Kerber couldn’t stop Serena from clinching her 7th Wimbledon crown, a record-equalling 22nd grand slam title. Today Serena stands alongside Stefanie Graph, just two behind Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24!

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Serena happens to be the only tennis player to have won singles titles at least six times in three of the four Grand Slam tournaments and is also the only tennis player to have won 10 Grand Slam singles titles in two separate decades.

In the 28 grand slam final appearances, Serena has lost only six times, two of which came this year at the Australian open and the French open. In the 28 finals, only 8 of those went into the 3rd set. Barring the one final against Azarenka in 2012 U.S open, which she won 7-5 in the 3rd set, and the one against Venus Williams at the Australian open in 2003, which was decided at 6-4, none went the distance either. Serena ran past her opponents in the decider, losing only a couple of games en-route.

These are numbers that are hard to come to terms with. It not only speaks of her dominance over the years but also her longevity in the game. Even though Serena is now nearing her 35th birthday, one just feels there is much more to come, in terms of years and titles.

In 2004, a seventeen-year-old Maria Sharapova created shock waves across the globe as she uprooted Serena in straight sets at the Wimbledon finals. Serena stood second best that day. The tennis world welcomed Serena William’s challenger. Serena’s dominance was questioned and she had to answer back.

In the 19 meetings after that Wimbledon finals loss, Serena has beaten Sharapova a staggering 18 times! Over the last couple of decades, Serena has seen many such challengers who have come and gone, but none got the better of the American. Even if she is having a bad day at the office the likelihood of Serena coming second best is very unlikely.

I've just felt a lot of pressure, I guess. I put a lot of that pressure on myself. Obviously, I’ve had some really tough loss. One thing I learnt about last year is to enjoy the moment. I'm definitely going to enjoy this,"

Serena Williams

Ever since her 1st slam victory in 1999, only twice, in 2000 and 2006, has Serena not been at the championship match of any of the grand slams. And since the 2014 US open she has been in the finals of all six grand slams except one. Such has been her consistency, one which is unlikely to stop anytime soon.

Come the US open, Serena Williams will again start as the favourite to clinch the title. With the kind of form that she is in at the moment, it is hard not to envisage another grand slam victory and another step closer to Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 titles.

“I've just felt a lot of pressure, I guess. I put a lot of that pressure on myself. Obviously, I’ve had some really tough losses,” Williams said. “One thing I learnt about last year is to enjoy the moment. I'm definitely going to enjoy this,” said an elated Serena after her win.

As long as Serena is enjoying herself on the court, there is very little doubt about her maintaining her dominance. After her 22nd slam victory, it seems that the only certainty that will stop her is the ‘Time’.

But, that too, for now, looks pretty far away.

Also, read : Statistical comparison- Is Serena already ‘greater’ than Steffi?

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