It is said that figures don’t lie but really it would be a brave person to argue a case that Serena Williams is not the best player in the world and that really she is No.1. When she is playing well and is fully fit,...
It is said that figures don’t lie but really it would be a brave person to argue a case that Serena Williams is not the best player in the world and that really she is No.1. When she is playing well and is fully fit, she is virtually unbeatable. There is no question about that. To see the rankings have her at three behind Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova who, don’t get me wrong, have also definitely enjoyed a remarkable year, sort of leaves one scratching one’s head. No other player in women’s tennis has won seven titles this year – Madrid, Charleston, Wimbledon, Olympic Games, US Open and Istanbul – she never lost a single final she was in, plus she is the only player to have won on every surface and situation, clay, grass, hard and indoor. No other woman has won two Grand Slams and an Olympic medal and the season-ending championship, the TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships, no other player is on an eleven match win streak against players ranked in the top two. When Serena cleaned up all before her at the just completed TEB-BNP Paribas WTA Championships she did it without losing a set and finished 2012 with a 58-4 record and a .935 winning percentage; since 1990 only one player has posted a better winning percentage and that was Justine Henin, 63-4 which was calculated at .940. Serena has claimed 47 of her last 49 matches; the only hiccups were to Virginie Razzano at Roland Garros and to Angelique Kerber in Cincinnati. By winning in Istanbul it took her career titles to 46 which are more than any active player and she became the oldest woman at 31 years of age to win the season-ending event, outdoing the record held by Martina Navratilova. She is also one of only six women to claim the event three or more times joining the likes of Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Seles and Clijsters to do so. As mentioned, both Azarenka and Sharapova had fantastic seasons, just superb, and for women’s tennis to see such great competition at the top of the sport can only be good for the sport. Azarenka reached nine finals and won six including the Australian Open whereas Sharapova reached eight finals winning three including the French Open. However, breaking things down further, Serena has a 10-1 record against Azarenka and won all four matches they played this year and against Sharapova the record is 10-2 to Serena including wins in all three in 2012 (Serena has now won their last nine matches). The last time Sharapova won a set from Serena was back in 2008. There used to be an argument that Serena would pick and choose her events, well that discussion is also out the window because she played a full schedule – the Istanbul final was her 62nd match. The stats do not lie here. Serena is the best player in the world and the rankings should make it clear but they don’t. There is nothing wrong with being No.3, it’s an incredible achievement but when you have put the runs on the board and the figures do not reflect that, then surely there is something wrong. “I had such a good year winning Wimbledon and US Open and stuff, Olympics, you know, it's like a heavy favorite going in to win this title, so for me it was really important,” she said. “I mean, for my own sanity, so to say, I really wanted it, even though I didn't need it. Like I don't think I needed to do anything else this year or any other year, but I really wanted to end on a good note.” Just as Tina Turner sang … “Simply the Best”. We’re shaping up for another “Serena Slam”, maybe even a calendar year one because you can bet she will be even more determined at Roland Garros next year to make up for what happened in 2012.