Serena Williams is a special kind of athlete that really only comes around once in a lifetime. She has dominated the tennis world for many years and doesn’t look to be calling it quits anytime soon. We’re looking at what makes Serena Williams so good on the court, and if there can ever be anyone else like her.
Bursting onto the scene
Serena began her tennis career as a teenager and won her first Grand Slam at just 17 years old. She, along with her sister Venus, took the tennis world by storm and made everyone change how they approached the sport.
Venus and Serena were so strong and powerful, so much more than their competitors, that they just blew the competition away. It would be that strength that would set them apart for much of their careers, but Serena has been much more successful than her sister.
23 Grand Slams, and counting
Serena Williams has won 23 individual Grand Slam titles over her career so far. If you include her doubles victories, then she has 39 Grand Slam titles. It’s like Serena was built in a lab to be the perfect tennis champion.
She needs one more Grand Slam title to equal most singles wins ever, and there is a high likelihood she’ll be getting more than one before retiring. Serena has the drive to succeed like none other, and you can see her on the court winning every battle. Her mentality is so strong that her opponents have to find a way to break her spirit as much as compete with her tennis game.
One of Serena’s biggest strengths is actually her physical strength. Because she can hit the ball so hard she can control where her opponent is on the court. If you combine that power with her agility across the court, she can keep the ball alive long enough to turn the tide and smash it home. Her forehand is where the battle is often won when her opponent is serving as she drives her competitors farther and farther back.
When it comes to her serve, that is a completely different story. Serena’s serve is so good that it can win her tournaments alone. She can serve the ball at over 120 mph, but the impressive thing about her service is that it’s almost impossible to read. Williams is basically the queen of aces as her opponents just cannot figure out where her serves are going.
There is no wasted movement in her serve, and many believe it is one of the most complete techniques of any tennis player in history, female or male.
The placement and technique are so strong that she beats everyone, both in power and skill. She is the most difficult woman to come up against on tour, and it’s the reason why she has won so many Grand Slam titles.
Where does it all come from?
Serena, and her sister Venus, were trained from a young age by their parents and that coaching has led to a deep understanding of how the game is played. Her parents moved their family to Florida when Serena was nine, so she and Venus could focus more on playing tennis.
Serena received additional coaching in Florida by Rick Macci who wanted to push her and her sister to bigger and better things. She was ranked as the best under-10s player in Florida and had a record of 46-3. It wasn’t until 1995 when her father, Richard Williams, decided he would pull Serena from her coaching academy when she was in the ninth grade.
He didn’t want his daughter missing out on her school work and life, so stopped her from attending national tournaments after she turned ten. Serena was asked in 2000 if she thought she would have benefitted from following a traditional tennis path instead of being homeschooled by her father. Williams said that everyone follows different paths and that’s what worked for her and her sister.
It really did work for her especially, and she became one of the best female tennis players in the history of the sport. She has spent longer at the world number one spot than tennis icon Roger Federer, with Serena sitting at the top for 319 weeks compared to Federer’s 311.
Will there ever be another?
There might only ever be one Serena Williams, but people can and should base their games on hers. She is arguably the most successful female tennis player of all time, especially when you consider this to be the most competitive tour there ever has been. It’s going to take a special athlete to get close to Serena’s game.
Tennis players are bigger and stronger than ever thanks to Serena’s influence in the sport as she is the one that everyone else has been training to beat. To compete with Serena, players need to match her for strength, which few can do, plus they need the mentality of a winner that you can’t train.
That mentality is something athletes are born with, and their desire to be the best is what keeps them getting better each and every day. Perhaps one day someone will come along who is just as good as Serena Williams, but it’s unlikely, and she really is one of a kind.