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Serena Williams - the greatest athlete of all time?

2017 Australian Open - Day 13
Serena Williams
CONTRIBUTOR

Serena Williams is undoubtedly the greatest female athlete of all time. But is she also the greatest athlete of all time, irrespective of gender?

There are a lot of things in her favor; statistics never lie. A win percentage of 80% in finals is incredible. That stat alone tells you a lot about this woman.

There are definitely many candidates for the title of the greatest athlete of all time. Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, Pele, Usain Bolt, Micheal Schumacher, Sachin Tendulkar, Micheal Phelps - the achievements of these athletes are truly remarkable. They are truly the Greatest Of All Time in their respective fields.

But while their records are tough to be broken, it's not entirely impossible. Take, for instance, Schumacher's 7 drivers championships; Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton still have age on their side to best Schumacher. Tendulkar's record of most runs is under threat from Alastiar Cook and even Virat Kohli. Federer's 20 titles are incredible, but Nadal is so close to him at 17.

Williams on her part definitely deserves the same credit as Steffi Graf and Roger Federer, if not more. Not just because of the 23 singles Major titles, but also for the 14 doubles and two mixed doubles titles that enhance her CV further. Let's not forget that Serena is also a four-time Olympic gold medalist. No man has achieved all these records.

The active player closest to Serena Williams's haul in singles is her sister, Venus Williams with 7 Grand Slams. Margaret Court might have 24 singles titles to her name, which is one more than Serena Williams, but Serena has excelled in a time of far tougher competition. Williams's 23 singles titles is the Open Era record, and 39 is the number of Major titles Serena has won in her career so far.

This is not a mark that can be broken any time soon. Her records speak for herself, and make her the best player tennis has ever seen.

After winning so many titles, it would be easy for anyone to call it a day. But finding that motivation to repeat all those feats again is something else.

USA Venus Williams and USA Serena Williams, 2008 Wimbledon Championships
Venus Williams and USA Serena Williams, 2008 Wimbledon Championships

Serena is known for her dominance. She is the only player to have won 10 Grand Slams in consecutive decades. She also has a win percentage of 70.45 against the ladies who have been world number 1 (20 exactly), which is exceptional.

Only Usain Bolt has a better record against his title rivals. But Bolt doesn't face his rivals as frequently as Serena does.

When the topic of "Greatest Of All Time" comes around, people barely talk about female athletes. But not anymore. That's because Serena has reformulated what a woman can do on a tennis court.

Serena's achievements are almost beyond belief. Her consistency is astounding because women's tennis in general lacks that when compared to men's. Her motivation and hunger to keep on winning more titles is simply stunning.

After her 23rd Grand Slam title, the Australian Open 2017, which she won despite being eight weeks pregnant, she could have retired with the status of 'legend' stamped against her name. Instead, after her delivery, she came back to the sport and now, she is a Wimbledon finalist. Yet Again.

We don't know for sure what could have happened if she hadn't pulled out of her fourth round match at Roland Garros last month. Maybe she would've reached the final there too

Day Twelve: The Championships - Wimbledon 2018
Day Twelve: The Championships - Wimbledon 2018

Serena is a complete player. You can barely spot a weakness in her game. However, you can't become a great player with just skills or talent; your attitude and body language are equally important.

Serena's willpower is perhaps her greatest strength. The willingness to keep winning is what separates her from the rest. Even after so many titles in her career she hasn't lost that motivation, which is truly admirable. She could have called it a day after the exit at Roland Garros but she didn't.

Like every other player in every other sport, she has had her ups and downs. But the mark of a champion is how good their comeback is after a failure or a setback. Her comeback after her injury in 2010-11 which kept her out for a year tells us a lot. Since she wasn't active, her ranking dropped to 176. But a year later, she was the No. 1.

Now, despite the loss against Angelique Kerber at Wimbledon 2018, we can be sure that this is not the last of Serena Williams. She would want to prove herself again at the US Open later this year because she's a fighter. She is a warrior who will do anything to win a match.

To better her records is Mission Impossible. So it's not far-fetched to say that if the title "Greatest Athlete of all time" is a thing, no one deserves it more than Serena Jameka Williams. She truly is one of a kind, and she is to be cherished.

Edited by Musab Abid
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