Wimbledon continues-Day 2. Seven-time singles Champion Serena Williams returned yesterday to SW19 after missing last year, waiting the arrival of her daughter Alexis Olympia in September, although she did win the Australian Open while two months pregnant. Fun fact: hence her daughter’s initials AO. It was a successful first day back in ‘the office’, beating Holland’s Arantxa Rus in straight sets. Serena’s first Grand Slam back after her hiatus was the French Open last month, where she had to retire before her fourth round match with Maria Sharapova due to an injury sustained while playing doubles with sister Venus.
Many consider her to be the best player in the history of the sport, but agree it is difficult to compare from different eras. Four names are constantly in the mix for the women’s debate – Margaret Court, Martina Navratilova, Steffi Graf and Serena. Her record speaks for itself. The WTA have ranked her Number 1 on eight occasions between 2002-2017. Serena’s 23 singles Grand Slam titles is the most by a player in the Open Era, second behind Margaret Court (24). She is the most recent player to have twice held all four Grand Slam titles simultaneously in 2002-3 and 2014-15, the third person to do this after Rod Laver and Steffi Graf. In addition, she has won 14 Grand Slam doubles titles with sister Venus and two mixed doubles, along with four Olympic gold medals and winning the Laureus Sportswomen of the Year Award four times.
Serena walked the purple carpet at the WTA TENNIS ON THE THAMES pre-Wimbledon event, honouring women who have shaped the world with their achievements both on and off the court at London’s iconic OXO tower last Thursday where she signed my sketch.