WIMBLEDON, England – Twelve years after doing it the first time around, Serena Williams has made history again by winning four consecutive Grand Slam titles – better known as the “Serena Slam.”
It’s another mark in the history books for the player who many already consider the greatest woman to have ever played the game.
Williams, 33, overcame a staid opponent in Garbiñe Muguruza, a 21- year-old from Spain, Saturday in the
Wimbledon women’s final, winning 6-4, 6-4.
It’s a remarkable feat for Williams, the world No. 1, marking her 21st Grand Slam title and sixth at Wimbledon. She sits just one major trophy behind Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22. Williams, winner at the U.S. Open last year, now holds all four Grand Slam titles to her name, having emerged victorious at the Australian and French Opens to start 2015. In September at the U.S. Open she’ll seek to become the first tennis player – male or female – to win all four majors in one year since Graf did so, back in 1988.
It was not an easy ask for Williams on what was a bright blue day on Centre Court. Muguruza, who had won just one match at Wimbledon before this year, came out firing, matching Williams power-for-power and leading by a break 3-1 in the first set.
But Williams would hold at 2-4 down, letting out a first big “Come on!” of the match and delivering a service winner. In the next game she drew even with Muguruza, who has just one WTA title to her name, the Spaniard missing a forehand over the baseline after a powerful exchange.
Williams would break in the fourth game of the second set, as well, opening up a 3-1 lead and then dashing to 5-1, at one point winning 11 points in a row. But the moment caught up to her, Williams unable to serve out the match and then losing the next game as the crowd increasingly backing the
Spaniard as she charged back. As the drama built, Williams would fall behind love-40 when she served for the title a second time before she broke out her vintage serve, cracking two aces and earning a championship point. But the two would play some of the finest points of the tournament in moments that grew increasingly intense, Muguruza hitting a forehand winner to draw to deuce, then earning a break point two points later, scrambling about the court. She’d break on a backhand winner, bringing the second set to 4-5 on her serve.
The comeback would not be completed, however, Muguruza hitting a double fault, then two points later a backhand long. On her second championship point, Williams would take it, a Muguruza forehand flying wide.
Williams bounced about the court after the score was announced, then the two embraced at the net. Muguruza wiped away tears at her chair, the No. 20 seed playing in just her third career final. It has been a Wimbledon full of challenges for Williams, who captures a 68th career title. In the third round she was two points from defeat against British No. 1 Heather Watson before coming through 7-5 in the third set. In the fourth round she beat sister Venus here, their first meeting at Wimbledon in six years. Then came victories over Victoria Azarenka (after being down by a set) and Maria Sharapova (pure dominance).
Williams was well aware of the history she was playing for throughout this fortnight, halfway through the tournament asking members of the media to no longer inquire about her chase of the Serena Slam or calendar Grand Slam.
“I’m fed up” of talking about it, she reasoned. Her achievement is that much more impressive: Williams has now won eight of 13 majors since linking up with French coach Patrick Mouratoglou following her 2012 defeat in the first round of the French Open. It was her first Wimbledon championship since that year, as well. Williams doesn’t appear to be slowing down, however. She has lost just one match in the 2015 season and has said she will definitely play through the Rio Olympics next summer, if not longer. A host of challengers – including Muguruza, Azarenka, Sharapova, Petra Kvitova, Simona Halep and more – haven’t been able to close the gap on Williams consistent, never-wilting power. Williams has been accompanied by the rapper Drake for much of her run to the title here, while Vogue editor Anna Wintour sat in Williams’ player box on Saturday, as well. But what has been in fashion for Williams this tournament and throughout her career has been her power brand of tennis. Can she win the calendar Grand Slam in 2015? She’s three-fourths of the way there at this point.
And, as Serena has proven with the past – and today – on the tennis court, anything is possible.