Is Serena Williams the Best Woman Athlete of All Time?

August 24, 2015

I don’t know why this needs an answer, but it raises the discussion for what is the criteria for such a title?  I pondered this question and racked my memory to find the candidates, and I believe that Serena Williams should be considered. She certainly has won enough hardware and awards to fill up a museum wing, but what else?

With the upcoming US Open at the end of August, Williams enters as the Number one player in the world and looking to win her fourth Grand Slam Event this year and fifth in a row. This is unchartered ground for women’s tennis, not even Steffi Graff pulled this off.

What makes this run of dominance incredible, is the fact that she is 33 years old. No other woman tennis player has won as much as she has after the age of thirty, make that any man as well. She is closing in on the record for most Grand Slam victories, she currently has 21, and Graff has 24. She probably has that goal in site before she calls it quits.

So, does this warrant her as the best women’s athlete of all time? Let’s break this down a little.  Williams is currently dominating at the age of 33 in a large international field of great women players. She is the best in her sport. Her playing style is a power game, which is exemplified in her serve where she dominates her opponents. She is incredibly agile and quick for a woman of her size, she is 5’ 9”, and adorning an incredible muscular physique. Williams has battled through countless injuries and plays impaired with unknown ailments and still perseveres, and wins.

You might be able to find a more complete athlete, like an Olympian decathlete or a WNBA player but have they dominated for such a long time? The only other woman athletes I can think of are; Kerri Walsh, the volleyball star, Babe Dickerson, the multi-sport star of the thirties, or Jackie Joyner Kersey, the great track star. When people try to break down athletic qualities, the argument is convoluted with criteria, but I still come back to skill level, overall physical dominance, resiliency and accomplishments. Serena fills the bill for me, right here, right now in the world of women’s sports.