On 30th September 2019, Novak Djokovic will pass Ivan Lendl to start his 271st week as world number one.
When the majestic Margaret Court hung up her racquet in 1975 owning 24 Slam singles crowns, the general consensus was no-one will ever break that record.
Until powerhouse Serena Williams burst onto the scene in 1998.
She will take on Angelique Kerber in the Wimbledon final tomorrow where success will see her equal the Australian’s record.
But they have come from two very different eras.
Margaret started her career in 1959 when tennis was totally amateur, with professionals barred from competing in Slams.
When the sport eventually turned pro in 1968, Margaret kept on her winning ways.
When Serena played her first Slam in 1998 the sport eas in full flight with professionalism, very quickly making the American a multi-millionaire.
Their statistics in Slams aren’t far apart.
Margaret won 210 and lost 23 Slam matches between 1959 and 1975 for a 90,12 per cent success rate, while Serena has won 325 and lost 43 for 88.31 per cent success.
The big difference were the rugged travel experiences in Margaret’s career.
In the 50s and 60s, to fly from Los Angeles to Sydney was a prohibitive cost to amateurs, plus a very rough, long, and often dangerous trip.
As a result many American women, among the best in the world, gave the Australian Championship the flick to concentrate on the French, Wimbledon, and US.
That played right into Margaret’s court, winning 11 of her 24 at the Australian.
Margaret Court’s Slam record
Australian – won 11 from 14 starts.
French – 5/10.
Wimbledon – 3/12.
US – 5/11.
That makes a total of 24 Slams from 47 starts, with the highlight capturing the singles Grand Slam in 1970.
Serena Williams’ reply:
Australian – 7/17.
Wimbledon – 7/17.
US – 6/17.
The total – 23 Slams from 61 starts.
Serena also has her eyes on winning the most golden and coveted Wimbledon Plates.
Serena’s won seven with Steffi Graf, trailing Martina Navratilova’s nine, and Helen Wills Moody’s eight.
Which makes Serena’s seeding of 25 this year, returning after the birth of her first child, arguably the most absurd decision in Wimbledon’s long history as the home of tennis.
It hasn’t worried Serena one scrap.
Tomorrow she will be the one to beat with history beckoning.