Serena Williams, at thirty-three years old, has accomplished a feat that few professional tennis players have ever achieved. Beginning with last year’s U.S. Open Championship, she has won all four of the Grand Slam tennis tournaments (U.S. Open, Australian Open, French Open, and Wimbledon). The tennis world is calling it the Serena Slam. If she wins this year’s U.S. Open Championship, she will complete a calendar-year grand slam, making her only the fourth woman ever to do so.
To appreciate how difficult an accomplishment this is in tennis, only 7 men and 10 women (including Serena) have won all four Grand Slam titles during their tennis career. Furthermore, of the men and women who have won all four titles over the course of their career, only 3 women and 2 men (one did it twice) have done it in the same calendar year. Serena has managed to win four straight Grand Slam titles while playing on three different surfaces (hard courts, clay courts, and grass courts) in four different countries.
As a tennis fan, I marvel at Serena’s ability to battle through match after match and find a way to win, even when she’s not playing her best tennis. Whether you’re a fan of tennis or not, you can’t help but acknowledge that Serena is an outstanding athlete. She has won 21 Grand Slam singles titles in 25 appearances. Playing with her sister Venus, she has won 13 Grand Slam doubles titles and three Olympic gold medals in doubles. Serena has also won two Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles along with a gold medal in singles tennis at the London Olympics. Playing as well as she is at this point in her career, if she is not the best of all time, she will certainly be counted among them.