So is Serena the GOAT? Greatest of all time?
The newspaper reports that in 2012, she asked her coach to help her win "just one more." That is, she wanted to win one more major championship before she retired.
She has so far won nine more since then, most recently Wimbledon on Saturday.
She's almost exactly the same age as Roger Federer—a contender for GOAT on the male side—whose body seems to be breaking down at 34. The only thing of Serena's that's doing any breaking down is the way her serves break down her opponents.
As far as the greatest is concerned in tennis, the women's game sets a very high bar. Every age has had its standouts. There was Althea Gibson (USA), retired 1958; Margaret Court (Australia), retired 1977; Billie Jean King (USA)—one of the greatest figures not just in tennis but in all of women's sports—retired 1983; the fabled rivalry between Martina Navratilova (born in Czechoslovakia, later American), retired 2006(!), and Chris Evert (USA), retired 1989; and Steffi Graf (Germany), retired 1999.
Both Martina and Chris are also near the top of the list in second-place finishes, each mostly because of the other.
I used to play tennis, though not well. The furthest I ever got was in sophomore year of prep school, when I played #1 singles a few times on the junior varsity team. That sounds better than it was, though, because in my class of 91 boys and girls, no fewer than five boys advanced to the varsity team as soon as they became eligible, in our sophomore year. About the same number as juniors and seniors combined. My class was a standout for tennis and the school won State that year, and I think several times thereafter.
Oh, and my real place on the JV team was #2...I was only slotted at #1 a few times as a "sacrifice," so the real #1 player, Fritz Kaeser, could play at #2 and so stand a better chance of winning a match for us. Let's just say the JV team did not reflect the glory or dominance of the varsity. Fritz and I were the best of the left-behinds. And Fritz was better than I was...I almost beat him...once. I believe he went on to play varsity before he graduated. The next year, my junior year, I was only eligible for the varsity team, and never played organized tennis again.
Fritz wasn't the best tennis player I ever hit a ball with, however—not by a very long shot. I once had a "brush with greatness...."