After Roger Federer looked godlike in beating Andy Murray in the 2015 Wimbledon Men’s Singles semifinals, I had a discussion with a friend of mine who is a sports encyclopedia about whether Roger Federer has had a better career than Tiger Woods. The impetus was the assumption that if you asked sports fans or sports media who the greatest athlete of the last 20 years is I would bet that Tiger would garner the most votes. But maybe, I wondered, Roger has had the better career and still is among the 2 or 3 best players in his sport. On some days, like in the semis, he still looks like the best (even though I acknowledge Rafael Nadal’s claim as the best player historically due to head to head versus Federer). My friend pointed out Tiger’s social significance as being beyond Roger’s. Perhaps that’s true. However, we might both be wrong. The greatest athlete of the last 20 years…let’s say starting 1997-ish to now…is Serena Williams. 21 Major singles titles and no end in sight. At this rate, unless she retires…which she won’t before the end of the next Olympic year (2016)…30 singles Majors in not out of the question. There was a time not long ago that I would have said 30 singles Majors is unattainable…unthinkable. Serena has redefined what I call impossible in tennis. With her 6-4 6-4 victory over Garbine Muguruza in the 2015 Wimbledon Ladies Singles final, she claims said 21st Major singles title, along with her 6th Wimbledon singles title. It’s the second time she’s held all four Majors at thesame time, her second Serena Slam. She goes into this year’s US Open with a chance at the calendar year Grand Slam. Oh, and she also happens to be the reigning WTA Finals champion and reigning Olympic Tennis Women’s Singles Gold Medalist. If you add her doubles Majors, she has 36 Major championships. She’s so dominant in her sport that whomever you think is #2 at the moment, computer or public opinion…Petra Kvitova…Maria Sharapova…Victoria Azarenka…heck, throw in recently (in years) retired Li Na and Kim Clijsters…all of them put together can’t match Serena’s achievements. Whether you like Serena or not…and if you don’t it doesn’t make you a bad person (which tends to be what Serena fans automatically label anybody slightly critical of her…you know what I’m saying…I don’t want to get into a complicated race/gender, etc discussion in this post)…no matter how you personally feel…I can’t understand how anybody can’t respect what she has accomplished in her sport. When you factor her achievements and her longevity…for my money, she’s the greatest athlete of the last 20 years and belongs in the discussion of the greatest athletes of all time.
ALL PICS CLICK TO ENLARGE
1 SERENA WILLIAMS (won 6-4 6-4 vs 20 Garbine Muguruza)