Serena Williams up there with the greats

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    Serena Williams' greatest tournament win came at Melbourne Park a decade ago. (AFP PHOTO/ Martin Bernetti)

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    Love or hate her, no one can possibly question the greatness of Serena Williams.

    Her record speaks for itself with 15 singles, 13 doubles and two mixed doubles grand slam titles to her name. Then throw in four Olympic gold medals from Sydney 2000 to her recent triumph in Beijing.

    Williams captured her fourth US Open crown in a third decade, driving home the longevity of her career. At 30 years old, Williams will have a few more years to add to her already stunning record.

    Injury cost her a few years of quality tennis between 04-06 and the back half of 2010 into 2011 where she only played six tournaments. Now she is seemingly back at peak fitness, for a 2013 campaign that could be another year of Serena supremacy.

    The US Open was pure dominance from round one to the beginning of the second set in the final against Victoria Azarenka. Williams blasted her way past all opponents, rarely being troubled and relying on her serve, which is the best in women’s tennis.

    Azarenka then turned the final on its head, playing some quality tennis through the second set and most of the way through the third. Williams was about to be runner up again as she was to Aussie Sam Stosur in 2011.

    Azarenka had Williams on the ropes but, unlike the previous year where she unravelled and lost her cool, she bounced back. This year Serena would not go down without a fight.

    She managed to hang in there and Azarenka became increasingly nervous and tentative. Williams then put the foot on the throat, claiming the next three games to win the match.

    I have seen many articles debating whether Williams is the greatest of all time. Her 15 Grand Slam titles places her sixth all time, nine titles behind Margaret Court. I believe Serena may win another four or five Grand Slam titles, bringing her closer to Steffi Graf’s 22.

    This is just like comparing LeBron James to Michael Jordan or Kobe Bryant, when James is only 27 years old and has up to 10 years of a career to play out. Williams has a few years to close the gap to Graf but Court looks to be untouchable. Serena will need to have four years of supreme dominance with minimal injury trouble to achieve this.

    Williams in the past has been known to explode and show bad sportsmanship in some matches. I fully agree that she has gone overboard on some occasions.

    However, she has also been criticised for playing and looking like a man, regardless of her outlandish attire. Granted she doesn’t have the physique that appeals to male spectators compared to the likes of Sharapova, Ivanovic or an Azarenka but this should be irrelevant.

    Watching great athletes is a privilege and should be treasured as sports fans. I think that Serena Williams fits the bill as one of the greats, whether her appearance appeals to you or not.

    I will continue to sit back and enjoy her career and let the records be compared once she retires.