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"Serena Williams is still putting herself on the line and that shows the uniqueness of her greatness" - Rennae Stubbs

Serena Williams at the 2020 US Open
Serena Williams at the 2020 US Open
Gauri Awasthi
ANALYST

On the latest episode of the "The GOAT: Serena" podcast, Rennae Stubbs gave her thoughts on Serena Williams' legacy and her journey to the summit of the women's game.

Serena Williams turned pro in 1995 and has since won 23 Grand Slam titles in a career spanning more than two decades. The American has competed against a multitude of legendary players from across eras, including Steffi Graf and Maria Sharapova.

In the podcast, hosted by Chanda Rubin and Zina Garrison, Stubbs highlighted the fact that some of the greatest players that won Majors during Williams' time have hung up their racquets. According to Stubbs, the fact that Williams continues to play after all these years shows the "uniqueness of her greatness."

"All these great champions that won Slams during her period of time, the Maria Sharapovas, the Justine Henins, they're all done now and Serena is still putting herself on the line and that shows the uniqueness of her greatness," Stubbs said.

The Aussie further noted how successful players like Serena are often subjected to excessive scrutiny and judgment on social media. Stubbs asserted that these judgements are unfair since they are often made by people who are unaware of what it's like to be an elite athlete.

"Until you've walked in her shoes for two decades as the greatest player that is supposed to win every time she steps on court and to handle that pressure for two decades; if you don't think your nerves can be a little sharp then you come and talk to me. No way anybody can ever say 'this is what you should be doing' until you've walked in their shoes," the Aussie said.
Venus and Serena Williams at the London Olympics
Venus and Serena Williams at the London Olympics

The 50-year-old then went on to talk about the success Venus and Serena Williams have earned at the Olympics. The sisters share nine medals between themselves across disciplines, and are among the most decorated tennis players in the history of the quadrennial event.

According to Stubbs, the Williams sisters' passion for the sport and their country were driving forces behind their success.

"The main thing is she (Serena Williams) loves winning," the Aussie said. "She loves representing the United States and same with Venus. I think it's just wanting to win and have that passion."
"The most important thing for anyone in life is to love what they do and I think they love competing, they loved putting that medal around their neck and particularly together. When they were in a team together it was the greatest thing in the world, to push each other and to be as good as they were at the Olympics," she added.

"The most difficult thing for Serena Williams now is controlling her mind going forward" - Rennae Stubbs

Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open
Serena Williams at the 2019 US Open

Rennae Stubbs was also asked to weigh in on Serena Williams future prospects. The 23-time Slam champion was struck by injury at Wimbledon earlier this year and has since been sidelined from the tour. It is unclear when she plans to return to action.

Stubbs opined that Williams would find it difficult to keep playing at a high level considering the depth of women's tennis at the moment. The Aussie believes that attempting to equal Margaret Court's record of 24 Major titles could get mentally exhausting for Serena Williams.

"I think the most difficult thing for her now is controlling her mind going forward and her mind knowing that she's trying to accomplish that greatest of feats of passing the Margaret Court record," the Aussie said.
"She's not getting younger, as you grow older you know the importance of every single year - physically it's not easy, it just becomes harder. When you're playing against women that are playing week in and week out, it's hard for you to just walk into a Slam now and turn it on like you used to for seven matches. The depth of women's tennis now is much more difficult than it was 30 years ago," she added.
Edited by Arvind Sriram
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