With her recent loss at the US Open in the semi-finals to Kim Clijsters yesterday, one would think if Venus is ever going to win another slam. She had a solid first set cruising comfortably and looking poised to book a berth in another US Open final and silence critics that age is just a number and that she is still a threat at any majors. Instead, she bombed miserably the following two sets. She even had a chance to go ahead, serving in the third set 4-4, 30-30. But she double faulted and was down a breakpoint. Then Clijsters won the next point with a forehand and went on to serve it out for the match 4-6 7-6 6-4.
At age 30, it seems like a far-fetched dream that Venus will win another slam. Well at least not in singles. It is very unlikely that she’d be healthier and stronger. And it does not help that she is prone to injuries. Venus hasn’t reached a final since Wimbledon 2009 where she lost to her sister Serena. And she hasn’t won a slam outside of Wimbledon, the last one at 2008 beating Serena in 2 highly-charged sets. Though that sounds dismal to some, let’s not forget how successful Venus is and how she helped shape women’s tennis today.
Venus Williams is a tennis superstar and definitely one of the greatest champions of the Open era. She is half of the sisters who revolutionized tennis (forever) with their powerful groundstrokes, fast serves and unmatched athleticism and shot-making abilities. And these weapons helped her catapult into greatness winning titles after titles. She is also as impressive when it comes to doubles winning a staggering 100% record in Grand Slam finals winning all 12. Of course it helps a lot that she is teaming up with one of the greatest of all time, her sister Serena.
But Venus is not only about playing tennis alone. She also helped break the boundaries in tennis by protesting that French Open and Wimbledon still refused to pay equal prize money to men and women. In 2007, Venus was the first woman to benefit from the equalization of prize money at Wimbledon, as she won the tournament and was awarded the same amount as the male winner Roger Federer.
Venus’ career spans almost two decades turning professional in 1994 but didn’t really compete as much until 1997. Her resume is enviable. Many up and coming and even established players would admit they would kill to be as successful as Venus and imitate what she has achieved over the years.
Let us check her stats:
- In 1997, she became the first unseeded singles finalist at the US Open and the first woman since 1978 to reach the singles final on her first attempt.
- 43 singles titles, tied 10th overall rankings
- In February 2002, she became the first African-American woman to become World No. 1 since the computer rankings began in 1975.
- Spent 8 weeks at No. 1 in doubles with Serena
- 21 Grand Slam titles, tied at twelfth on the all time list
- Stands alone as the player, male or female, with most Olympic gold medals (3)
- Career prize money of US$ 27, 290,546 (2nd highest behind Serena)
- Between 2000-2009, Venus won the Wimbledon 5 times and reaching 7 finals.
- Reached at least one final in all of the 4 Grand Slams in singles and won at least twice in all of the 4 slams in doubles
- She is one of only 5 women in the open era to win 200 or more main draw grand slam matches.
- Her 35-match winning streak from the 2000 Wimbledon Championships to the 2000 Generali Ladies Linz tournament final, remains the longest winning streak since January 1, 2000.
But of course she is not all about great records. She also has relatively disappointing stats. Here are a few:
- Although getting into a Grand Slam final is a feat in itself, it is not however when you lose 5 consecutive slam finals.
- Her 11-week reign as World No. 1 is the 2nd shortest tenure behind Evonne Goolagong.
As amazing as her records are, there is much doubt that she’d get back to her former glory, peaking between year 2000-2002. Her dad, Richard Williams, said a couple of years ago that we haven’t seen the best of Venus yet. Even as a fan, I find that hard to believe. But I wouldn’t bet against Venus winning at least one more slam. Wimbledon, anyone?