Serena Williams

Serena Williams, 40, may not have played in a professional tennis match since Wimbledon in June, 2021, when she retired after injuring an ankle in the first set of her opening match against Aliaksandra Sasnovich but, even so, requires little introduction. She is, in fact, the most successful singles player, of either sex, in the Open Era, with 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name. All told, she has won the Australian Open seven times, Wimbledon seven times, the US Open six times and the French Open three times. Williams has also topped the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) singles rankings for 319 weeks, a total exceeded only by Steffi Graf (377 weeks) and Martina Navratilova (332 weeks).

In April, 2022, Williams revealed plans to return to competitive tennis at Wimbledon in June, 2022. However, she did so just hours after Patrick Mouratoglou, who had been her coach since 2012, announced that he would be working full-time with Romanian Simona Halep. Williams has also stressed that equalling, or breaking, the all-time Grand Slam record set by Margaret Court, from which she is just one single title away, is no longer a priority. Having won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, to complete what has become known as a ‘Career Golden Slam’ in singles, she has little or nothing to prove, so rumours of her retirement inevitably continue to circulate.

Whatever the future holds, no-one can deny the impact that Williams, and her elder sister, Venus, have had on women’s professional tennis since they first arrived on the scene in the Nineties. Serena Williams was only 14 when she turned professional in 1995. She won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open in 1999 and, between June, 2002 and January, 2003 completed the so-called ‘Serena Slam’, winning all four Grand Slam singles titles, at the expense of Venus Williams on all four occasions.

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