Serena Williams' 23rd Grand Slam title puts her in rarified air, but there are a host of other records she also owns.
Presented with another string of eye-popping numbers relating to Serena Williams, it’s hard to know where to begin the discussion.
Do you start with the 23 Grand Slam titles that saw Serena surpass Steffi Graf as the most successful champion of the Open era? Or do you consider her return to world No.1, which incorporates other unparalleled milestones? Maybe you’d settle on the seven Australian Open victories that make Serena the most successful player here – male or female – of modern times?
Whatever way you look at it, these are mighty Serena numbers that are adding up.
By defeating sister Venus in this year’s final, Serena not only added to her already-significant Grand Slam collection, but claimed her 72nd career title overall.
Long boasting the most number of tournament wins among active players, Serena moves further within reach of only four women in history who have claimed more titles – Margaret Court, with 92, would be the next achievable target on Serena’s list.
Many of Serena’s remarkable records of course relate to her remarkable longevity – claiming the first of her 23 Grand Slams at the 1999 US Open, she’s a Grand Slam champion across the past three decades.
With those titles spanning over 16 years, it’s the most significant stretch between majors of the modern era – and unlikely to ever be surpassed when you consider that the legendary Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Graff “only” managed 12-year gaps between their wins.
It follows that many of Serena’s records relate to seniority too.
It’s almost four years since the American became the oldest woman to hold the world No.1 ranking in February 2013. That she could do so again at age 35 is yet another mighty Serena feat.
Serena has won 10 of her 23 majors since celebrating her 30th birthday – the most after 30 by far in the Open era. Court and Navratilova won three titles as a 30-something, Chris Evert and Billie Jean King had two each, while Ann Jones, Li Na, Flavia Pennetta and Virginia Wade each claimed a lone major after they were 30 years of age.
Such milestones have created even more history for Serena, who shares the most number of consecutive weeks at No.1 – 186 of them – with Graf.
And all these records are richly rewarding too.
Entering this event, Serena had amassed $81.7 million, the most career prize money in WTA history. Adding another $3.7 million for this victory, the next most successful player – Maria Sharapova, with $37.8 million – seems unlikely to ever catch up.
Throughout the fortnight, Serena served 54 aces – one more than Karolina Pliskova, who was the WTA ace leader in 2016. She also registered the speediest serve of the 2017 women’s event, delivering Johanna Konta with a 198km/h bomb in their quarterfinal.
Speed featured in one more record too. Taking just 50 minute to outclass Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-2 6-1 in the semifinals, Serena registered the fastest win (among completed matches) in the women’s event.
But most remarkable about Serena is not the number of records, or the vast nature of the ones she’s amassed. For the ambitious competitor, there are still many milestones within sight.
While Serena has contested a mighty 29 Grand Slam singles finals, for example, Evert featured in 34 throughout her career. More significant still is Court’s all-time 24 Grand Slam titles are within sight.
As the re-crowned champion toured through Melbourne Park happily completing her post-victory obligations, there were many reminders that Serena is not merely one of the most prolific champions in tennis history – but she’s also one who has not finished winning yet.