Serena Williams starts the Australian Open with one goal in mind : to equal the record of 22 Grand Slam titles currently held by the German Steffi Graf. A good opportunity to bring back a few memories…

Serena Williams starts the Australian Open with one goal in mind : to equal the record of 22 Grand Slam titles currently held by the German Steffi Graf. The 21 major tournaments she has already won are a good opportunity to bring back a few memories…

 

…a total of 285 wins in the singles since her debuts in the Grand Slam tournaments, against 40 defeats, in 61 entries.

 

…a first victim in a final named Martina Hingis, at the US Open in 1999. In the last century.

 

…Andre Agassi without Steffi Graf.

 

…epic confrontations against opponents from another time : Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport, Jennifer Capriati. A time when american women’s tennis didn’t only rely on the Williams sisters’ shoulders.

 

…talking about her sister, she’s won six titles facing Venus in the final, for two defeats (US Open in 2001, and Wimbledon in 2008).

 

…a period when serious doubts emerged on the intensity of the matches between the Williams sisters, with certain matches suspected of having been fixed. 

 

…huge wins in the doubles also, with Venus always : 13 tournaments won in 13 finals played !

 

…Simona Halep suffering from serious back problems…

 

…4 defeats in the final in the singles : twice against Venus but also at the US Open 2004 against Maria Sharapova, and in 2011, still at the US Open, against Samantha Stosur.

 

…a very bad memory, by the way, that lost final against Stosur, with a lot of nervousness and a few insults directed at the chair umpire…

 

…a very violent outburst which occurred during her frustrating defeat in the US Open semi-finals in 2009, with this famous cutting remark launched at a line judge and caught by the american cameras: « I swear to God, I'm f------ going to take this f------ ball and shove it down your f------ throat, you hear that? I swear to God. » Classy.

 

…a single Grand Slam first round elimination : At Roland-Garros, in 2012, against Virginie Razzano. Yes, Virginie Razzano.

 

…Richard Gasquet being better than Nadal.

 

…Rafael Nadal not having won a single title at Roland-Garros.

 

…a few withdrawals due to injuries, with four occurring at Roland-Garros in 2000, 2005, 2006 and 2011.

 

…a bout of the blues between 2005 and 2006, with physical injuries but also mental difficulties with her taking a treatment for depression.

 

…the tragic death of her older sister Yetunde Williams, shot in September 2003. Which possibly contributed to this bad patch in the following seasons.

 

…the slow decay of Swedish tennis.

 

…A US Open played thanks to a wild card in 2006, Serena having fell at the 139th spot at the WTA Race.

 

…the poorly disguised threat from her sponsor Nike, which, frustrated by her below-average performances at the time, demanded that she started winning again.

 

…an authentic rebirth at the 2007 Australian Open, with a victory sealed without being seeded, something which hadn’t happened in Melbourne for 30 years.

 

…A 100% American WTA Top 3 at the end of the season, alongside Davenport and Capriati. That was in 2001.

 

…a pretty hasty forecast from Pat Cash at the start of the 2007 season : Serena Williams is on the decline. Good call !

 

…more than 74 millions of dollars in prize money.

 

…five frenchwomen in the WTA Top 15.

 

…Nathalie Tauziat in the World’s Top 10 at the end of the year 2000. And that wasn’t even a glitch.

 

… An adored and regretted dog since he passed away last year. RIP Jackie.

 

…two seasons with three victories in Grand Slam tournaments : in 2002 and in 2015.

 

…a huge disappointment at the US Open 2015, with this improbable defeat in the semi-finals against Roberta Vinci. Damn, there was only two matches to win to conquer all four major tournaments in a single season and equal Steffi Graf’s record !

 

…rumors of a liaison with Drake.

 

…Roger Federer not spending a single day out of the number one spot.

 

…harsh hints regarding her size. « I could I could lose 20lb and I'm still going to have these knockers and I'm going to have this ass », she admitted, resigned, in 2009.

 

…pretty provoking outfits, which were not always of the best taste. Remember her jeans skirt and her black press stud top at the US Open 2004…

 

…six Wimbledon Champions’ dinners, as tradition requires. With a last wild one with Novak Djokovic.

 

 

…Djokovic wiping his plate with a piece of bread.

 

…a win concluded with an ace recorded at 198km/h in the final of Roland-Garros 2013 against Maria Sharapova. Neat.

 


 

 

…a huge rivalry with Justine Hénin at a time which already sounds quite ancient…the Belgian has notably beaten her three times in three Grand Slam confrontations in the 2007 season ! Nemesis.

 

…Mike Bryan trying to make it in the singles.

 

…Martina Hingis bossing the WTA ranking, in the singles.

 

…Anna Kournikova on a tennis court. For real.

 

… a huge memory in the 2008 US Open quarter finals with a hard fought victory, 7/6 7/6, against Venus after having saved ten set points ! 

 

…a pretty stupid injury in 2010, with a foot cut by glass fragments in a restaurant. Missing the US Open for that reason is a bit silly.

 

… White braids, long hair, short hair, wavy or smooth, a bandana, large hoop earrings, super short shorts and skirts, insanely colorful dresses…

 

By Régis Delanoë