The 2000s was a very successful decade that
saw her win 10 grand slams, stay at world number one for 63 weeks, and complete a Serena
Slam. However, few put her name in the conversation
of all time greats and legends. In the next decade, she upped the anti, and
changed the outlook of her whole career being mentioned as not only one of the greatest
tennis players of all time, but the greatest athlete ever. This is how Serena Williams Became the goat
in the 2010s. Serena, heading into decades first major,
the Australian Open, had a chip on her shoulder with the 2009 US Open controversy still heavily
present on everyones minds. She quickly changed the narrative taking home
both the singles title but doubles title as well doing so extremely tapped up. After a close French Open loss to eventual
finalist Sam Stosur Serena defended her Wimbledon title passing Billie Jean King with now 13
grand slams. With this win, Serena was seen as the undisputed
best active womens player and looked in good shape to add to her legacy in the upcoming
US Open. However these hopes were thrown out the window
on July 7th 2010, when Williams stepped on a piece of glass in a Munich restaurant. Although she thought nothing of it at the
time even playing an exhibition match the very next day, he issue was extremely serious
as her right foot had been lacerated by the glass. The cut required 18 stitches and two operations
on her right foot. Complications from this second operation caused
her to suffer from a pulmonary embolism in February of 2011, having numerous blood clots
in her lungs. Soon after she underwent emergency treatment
for a hematoma she suffered as a result of her treatment for the embolism. Seeing that she almost died from this traumatic
experience, Serena couldn’t begin actively training until April and announced that she
would be returning to competitive tennis at the Aegon International in Eastbourne. Though visibly rusty Williams had a decent
grass season for her comeback losing to then world number three Vera Zvonereva in a tight
three setter in the Eastbourne second round, before falling to Marion Bartoli in the Wimbledon
round of 16 in two tight sets. After this loss Williams fell down in the
rankings to number 169 with only 60 points to her name. As the hardcourt season approached Williams
almost instantly raised these numbers for her titles in Stanford and Toronto would bring
her back into the top 30. Serena also reached her first major final
since the surgeries losing to an in-form Sam Stosur in a controversial final. Serena called it a season here ending the
year at number 12. artlist In the beginning of 2012 Serena had a subpar
year as an unfortunate ankle injury contributed to an early Australian Open exit and an absence
from the tour for two months. After a Miami Open Quarterfinals loss to Caroline
Wozniacki, Williams went on a complete tear dominating the fields in both Charleston and
Madrid for her first clay court titles since 2008. A heavy favorite to finally win her 14th grand
slam title at the French Open, Serena recorded her very first loss in a grand slam opening
round match losing to 111th ranked Virginie Razzano of France. Though initially the biggest loss of her career,
it became one of her most important as her early exit from the tournament would allow
for a collaboration with french tennis coach Patrick Mourataglou. Patrick though acknowledging Serena was already
a great player in her own right believed she had yet to tap into her potential and believed
she could go down as the greatest the sport had ever seen. He and Serena’s journey to make this happen
began almost immediately as Williams fought her way to the 2012 Wimbledon final, beating
Aga Radwanska for her 14th slam and 5th Wimbledon title. Less than a month later She returned to the
All-England club, playing arguably the best tournament of her life at the London Olympics. Losing just 17 games and demolishing great
players in Jankovic, Zvonareva, Wozniacki, Azarenka, and Sharapova, Serena crip walked
her way to her first Olympic singles gold medal. Additionally she snagged the doubles gold
with her sister Venus soon after. Serena’s golden summer continued into New
York where she would take her 4th title and flushing and 15th overall, beginning to put
her name in that all-time greats conversation. Williams ended the season on a high note winning
the year-end championships in Istanbul grabbing honor such as WTA Player of the Year and ITF
World Champion. I In 2013, Serena only got better first regaining
the number one ranking for the first time since 2010. In doing so she made history as the oldest
woman in the Open Era to hold the top position. 2013 saw Serena win 11 titles including a
redemption Roland Garros title, a repeat US Open title and a repeat year-end championships
trophy. Finishing the year number one Williams received
the Associated Press Female Athlete of the Year Award, WTA Player of the Year Award,
and the ITF World Champion’s crown. Serena also made history as the first woman
to win more than $10 million dollars in prize money in a single season. With 17 majors in toe and just one away from
Navratilova and Evert’s 18, many believed 2014 would be a monumental and record breaking
year for Serena. It didn’t appear this way at all for as
she suffering shock early losses to Ivanovic at the Australian Open, Muguruza at the French
Open, and Cornet at Wimbledon. Being the natural-born fighter she is, Serena
flipped the script in the US Open series winning both Stanford and Cincinnati to give her that
much needed confidence heading into the years’ final major. Successfully continuing her momentum Serena
breezed to her 6th US Open title not dropping one set in her 7 matches. Because she had won the US Open series Serena
collected 4 million dollars the biggest payday in tennis history at the time. She also 3-peated at the year-end championships
finishing the year ranked world number one, winning WTA Player of the Year and ITF World
Champion. Seemingly gotten the monkey off her back from
winning 18, a pressure free Serena immediately reached another major final at the 2015 Australian
open, overcoming a viral illness to beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets. with the victory
she won her 19th slam passing Martina and Evert in the major count. After this many began saying “Steffi’s
next”. Before attempting to catch Graf, the American
experienced a big life moment in her return to Indian Wells after her and her family her
racially harassed in 2001. After that emotionally tournament Serena won
the Miami Open title, a week that saw her win her 700th career match and record 8th
title in Key Bescane. Fast fowarding to Roland Garros Serena played
by far her most adversity-filled and dramatic grand slams in her entire career overcoming
near losses and a severe illness to capture her 20th major. Besides upping her slam count, this tournament
was historic for Williams becoming the first woman in the Open Era to win 50 matches at
all four of the Grand Slams. Additionally she become just the third player
in history to win each major at least three times. Coming into SW19, Serena looked to complete
her second Serena Slam a feat which a player holds all four majors at once. Able to overcome both the crowd and the pressure
of the trying to win the Serena Slam, Williams won the title claiming her 21st major moving
her just one away from Graf’s record. The win also set Serena up for an even bigger
feat: the Calendar Slam. Only 3 players in the Open Era have won all
four majors in a calendar year, Steffi Graf last doing this in 1988. If Serena could pull off this feat and tie
Steffi’s slam count at 22, she would cement herself as arguably the greatest female tennis
player of all time. With this much on the line the 2015 US Open
was by far Serena’s most nerve wrecking slam from start to finish as you could she
the pressure from everywhere in her 5 match wins leading up to the semifinals. Going up against 47th ranked Roberta Vinci
a 5th consecutive major finals was almost a guarantee for Williams. However, the Italian would shock the world
pulling up the biggest upset in tennis history to take away any Calendar Slam hopes. This loss was extremely disappointing for
Serena as she felt as though she left everyone down. Mentally and emotionally drained Serena took
the rest of the year off capping off a stellar year with the year end world number one ranking,
WTA Player of the Year Award, ITF World Champion’s crown, and the Sports Illustrated Sportsperson
of the Year honor. After a well resting off season Serena restarted
her chase for 22, coming close but falling in the 2016 Australian Open and French Open
finals to Angelique Kerber and Garbine Muguruza respectively. She got her revenge over the German in Wimbledon
that same year beating the German in the finals to finally grab her 22th major equalling Graf
for the Open Era Record. This win not only meant a lot for Serena herself
but for the public’s perception of her. Giant sports brand Nike who sponsors great
athletes like James, Jordan, and Ronaldo not only called Serena the greatest female athlete
ever but simply the greatest ever. 6 months after this triumph the American passed
Graf at the 2017 Australian Open beating sister Venus in the finals. In getting number 23 and holding the Open
Era record it became even less of a decade of who the greatest was and at the rate she
was going we could see her overtake the Court’s al-time record of 24 that same year. Or so we thought. Through an accidental Snapchat, We’d later
find out that Serena was 2 months pregnant when winning the Aussie Open taking the remainder
of the year off to give birth to her daughter Olympia. She would also get married to reddit co-founder
Alexis ohanian that November but things weren’t sunflowers and daises for the 23-time major
champion. After Olympia was delivered by emergency C-section
on September 1st, Serena began experiencing shortness of breath, and doctors later found
blood clots in her lungs. She ended up spending the first six weeks
of motherhood bedridden. After this unexpected delay Serena officially
returned to the WTA Tour in March of 2018 at Indian Wells. After 2 wins here and 2 losses with one in
Miami, Williams made the decision to spend a month training at the Mourataglou Academy
in France to be ready for her comeback slam the 2018 French Open. Serena surprised many with her performance
here making the second week after beating Ash Barty and Julia Georges in the 2nd and
3rd rounds. However Williams over did it in playing doubles
with her sister Venus as well, creating a pectoral injury that forced her out of the
tournament. The American quickly rebounded reaching the
Wimbledon final a month later falling to Angelique Kerber in straight sets. In that year’s US Open a much fitter Serena
looking primed for 24 with an impressive finals run, but her opponent Naomi Osaka was far
too good, and the 23-time major winner did not really show up. After a globally controversial final Williams
took the rest of the year off and came back refreshed in 2019. However untimely injuries prevented her from
going deep in the years first two majors. However, Serena once again made surprising
Wimbledon and US Open runs, but the pressure of breaking Margaret Court’s record weight
too heavy on her mind and she lost both finals in straight sets. As Serena enters her 4th decade of professional
tennis, the question on everyones mind is whether or not she’ll get Court’s all-time
record. Though it would be nice for her to build on
her legendary career, she doesn’t need not another grand slam to solidify her greatness. Court’s record is very dodgy seeing as she
won most of her majors at the Australian Open where the top players rarely travelled. The media constantly push the narrative that
Serena needs one or two more slams to be the official GOAT which is completely untrue. Whether you agree that she is the indefinite
GOAT or not, the mere fact that she was worked for her name to be in the conversation of
such debate despite tremendous adversity proves her greatness in the 2010s and it would be
tough to bet against that same greatness being shown in the 2020s.

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Dennis Veasley

4 thoughts on “How Serena Williams Became The Goat in the 2010s”

  1. Serena Williams becomes the GOAT when she won Rolland Garros, Wimbledon, USOpen, AOpen from 2002-2003 PERIOD.!!

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