How Important is Serena Williams to Woman’s tennis?

Once again, Serena Williams showed an unbelievable amount of quality to not only to win the Ladies championship but to also win the Ladies doubles partnered alongside her sister Venus, both for the seventh time respectively. She is ever present at the top of the best tournaments and has been for the last 15+ years. Her dominance has been truly remarkable, beating opponent after opponent and breaking records so consistently.

Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy
Serena winning her first of 22 grand slams at the US Open in 1999 (Photo credit Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Serena has been compared to the best ever and her statistics absolutely justify this. In the WTA she has won almost 81 million in prize money, coming from a plethora of single and doubles wins, including 22 Grand Slam singles titles, making her vital for the woman’s game. Any tournament she is in is instantly more exciting to the viewer. She has an appeal which was seen in golf throughout the era which Tiger Woods dominated. The entertainment, the quality and the presence of the man grabbed the attention of golf fans everywhere, making him a true hero and resulted in him having the ‘Tiger Woods factor’ named after him. This was the fact that viewing figures dropped so dramatically when tiger woods did not played in a certain tournament.  Serena completely has this, without her in tournaments the woman’s game does not have the same appeal to the general public without her in it. In fact in an interview when she was asked if Nadal and Federer were carrying the sport she defended the herself and the woman’s side of the game stating

If I could tell you every day how many people say they don’t watch tennis unless they’re watching myself or my sister, I couldn’t even bring up that number.’ Serena Williams: link in the appendix

Clearly she is extremely popular and draws a massive amount of support from committed and non committed tennis fans. Without her and her sisters influence, the Ladies game would be nowhere near as strong.

Madison-Keys
Madison Keys, the next American star (Photo credit: The Evening Standard link in the appendix

This is the major problem, Williams is now 35, her sister a year older and although it seems unthinkable, at one time they will both choose to retire from the game permanently. But who is there to replace her as the next figurehead of woman’s tennis? I am not saying for a moment that there is a lack of talent in the woman’s tennis, the standard is very high. However no one looks to be able to step into Serena’s shoes and dominate the game and drive the standard up further. The likes of Azerenka, Muguruza and Halep have shown periods of brilliance in their young careers but it would be fair to say none of these top players could replicate half the overall success of Serena throughout a full career. There are also number of future stars who are showing promise. Belinda Bencic from Switzerland is just 18 and is already in the worlds top 15 showing amazing form to win the Rogers cup, she could certainly get to the top of the game. However, not shining in this years grand slams has raised question marks as to if Bencic can continue on the great start to her career. Madison Keys at 21 certainly has the potential to be a great player. She is amazingly the first American to break into the world top ten since a young Serena Williams and currently at No.9 in the world she is certainly a great prospect. She also has a lot of power, almost emulating the style of Serena Williams, with a serve easily over 100mph as well as being strong from the baseline. It will certainly be interesting to see how these players progress but the future is certainly bright.

 

What has not helped has been the abundance top quality winners in the mens game whilst the Williams sisters have dominated the woman’s. While the mens grand slams finals have been almost exclusively dominated by the same 4 names (Federer, Murray, Nadal, Djokovic) and in fact in the last 10 years there has only been 7 winners of grand slams. In contrast the woman’s game has had 17 winners in this period. These numbers show that, especially in the last 5 years, when Serena Williams does not win a tournament, it gives a chance for a less successful player to win a grand slam. Unfortunately none of these players have ever had the longevity to mount a consistent challenge to Serena Williams at the pinnacle of Woman’s tennis. Therefore, Serena Williams is an icon of Woman’s tennis. Indispensable and frankly irreplaceable, she is a true leader of the game and the undisputed queen of tennis.

What do you think of Serena Williams? Who do you think could replace her as No.1 in Woman’s tennis? Please leave your thoughts and comments down below and thank you for reading!

Appendix

Serena Williams quote http://metro.co.uk/2016/03/21/novak-djokovic-is-right-male-tennis-players-do-deserve-to-be-paid-more-than-female-stars-5765546/

Madison Keys image http://www.standard.co.uk/sport/tennis/heather-watsons-conqueror-madison-keys-marches-on-8676782.html


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s