Serena Williams Greatest Ever After Olympic Singles Tennis Gold?
by Jeremy Davis | August 4th, 2012, 12:11 pm

American Serena Williams will now dominate the discussions of the greatest player in the Open Era in women’s tennis after on Saturday brutalizing former No. 1 and former Wimbledon champion Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1 in the gold medal match at the London Olympics, held at the All England Club.
The gold medal match followed a semifinal where the younger Williams sister humbled the current world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-2.

Williams rounded into devastating form as the Olympic draw progressed, and becomes the only woman in tennis history to complete a “Golden Slam” in singles and doubles, winning every Grand Slam title in singles and doubles, and Olympic gold in singles and doubles. No man has accomplished the feat.

Williams lost only 17 games in six matches in London, and four games in the final two rounds against the stiffest competition on the women’s tour.

Sharapova trailed 6-0, 3-0 before finally getting on the board. Williams appeared ready to out-hit the Russian at every turn, taking big cuts at groundstrokes and continuing the service dominance that had left opponents star-struck all week, launching 10 aces on the day.

Williams’ frequent injuries over the years has led to a host of almost-rans taking the No. 1 ranking, making it difficult to ascertain who might truly be ready to challenge the top players on the WTA tour — Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, Dinara Safina, Caroline Wozniacki, Victoria Azarenka — or who were seat-fillers.

Sharapova would have re-taken No. 1 with a victory in the gold medal match, but with her loss, the No. 1 ranking stays with Azarenka. Perhaps fitting after Serena’s victory and accomplishment in London that once again the recent Wimbledon champ comes home with the hardware, or in this case the gold medal, while someone else languishes in the No. 1 spot.

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51 Comments for Serena Williams Greatest Ever After Olympic Singles Tennis Gold?

Brando Says:

Congrats to serena for the win!

Greatest ever?

As if we ever discuss such things on this blog!


She’s up there for sure- i would say with graff, navratilova and evert.

The rest, IMHO, she’s definitely better than them

jane Says:

Graf, Martina, Chrissy, etc. … No “1” need be anointed. :)

Polo Says:

Graf, Martina, Serena. In any order anybody wants.

Kimmi Says:

murray/robson to final, going for silver or gold. bryan brothers wins gold.

Kimmi Says:

gasquet/benneteau picked bronze. tsonga/llodra picked silver. not too shabby for the french.

contemperory Says:

Definitely not. Serena comes after Graf/Navaratilova.

andrea Says:

Great achievement for Serena. Maria was spanked.

alison Says:

Whatever happens next Andy is guaranteed 2 silver at least,not too shabby for the Brits,great day for Laura Robson,Judys face was a picture she looked so happy.

racquet Says:

Definitely not. Winning each slam at least four times trumps the doubles titles.

alison Says:

IMO the best 3 female players of the year won the medals,in the right order too,Serena is pretty much like Roger in everything she does now is gravy.

jane Says:

racquet “Definitely not. Winning each slam at least four times trumps the doubles titles.”

I agree – who did that, Stefi or Martina?

Maso Says:

I’d put Graf ahead of Serena for sure, she was much more comfortable on clay whereas Serena is a bit limited in that department, only making it to the final once (and winning it that one time).

Sienna Says:

I cant believe graf is being put ahead before martina.
Is it the agassi factor !?
And please keep in min that Seles was well on her way to nip graffs winning slams in the bud.

Jack Lewis Says:

Billie Jean King said in 1999, “Steffi is definitely the greatest women’s tennis player of all time.”

Don’t see what Agassi had to do with Steffi’s career… Even if Seles would have done something she did not, how would that help Martina’s case?

Margot Says:

Serena is awesome but her matches are boring because she is so dominant. Felt sorry for Scharapova, 1 game eek. Radwanska did a better job.
Thought Kvitova might be able to challenge her, but not yet.

MMT Says:

I don’t understand what is going on here – there are 4 players with more majors than Serena – let her catch up to Graf and then the discussion can begin, until then PLEASE stop sensationalizing modern players.

Sienna Says:

obviously if Seles would not have been stabbed that martina would have been the greayest.

For now i think navratilova better then graf.

Was thatso hard to understand ?

And Agassi bud being american and there are lots of peoplefrom usa somaybe that iswhy graffs is put as goal.

Sienna Says:

Ranomi Kromowidjojo takes her second gold in50 m
she got the double.

monjol Says:

Serena is definitely the GOT. Seles, Navratilova or Graf would not have been able to match her power play even in their prime.

racquet Says:

@ jane

It was Steffi. Also, according to Beyond the Baseline, from 1987 to 1989 she was in every final of every tournament she played. One should think about that a while before entering Serena into the argument.

Vvx Says:

Is there a difference between the best player of all time and the greatest?

Serena Williams is the best player I have ever seen. At her best I cannot imagine anyone from history getting close to the standard.

Greatest? For me that is Martina. She won everything when she was young, in her prime and old which shows just her great her talent was. She ahd a more complete game and she also had stiffer competition than Graf who had a really easy ride against the Sabatinis, Novotnas and Sanchez-Vicarios (goo but not great players) once Monica Seles was taken out.

Sienna Says:

Vvx that is nice about Roger.

He is the greatest and he is the best.

M Says:

I am thrilled for ReRe.

I do wish when sportswriters wrote about her tennis they would stop using harsh words like “brutalized”.


She knows Maria is a great champion, so she had to do a thing, and she went out and did it.


alison Says:

Jess Ennis,Mo Farah,Chris Ruthersford winning Golds,Andy and Laura guaranteed at least a silver in mixed dubs,Andy guaranteed at least a silver in the singles,not to mention the medals we won for rowing,all in all a great day for the Brits,im so thrilled yipee.

alison Says:

Looking forward to the two mens finals,the battle for bronze,will be who is the least knackered,given Delpo had such a long match with Roger i would say Nole will be the fav,i think he will have more stamina over 5 sets,i would say the same thing as regards the battle for gold,although having said that Andy played two dubs matches today,however im giving him the slight edge,however anything can happen,plenty of possibilities,just hope for some great matches,go Andy go get gold twice.

Alok Says:

Terrific win for Serena, so happy for her! My GF is a Serena fanatical fan, which means I have to be hysterically happy for Serena or else I’ll be in big trouble.

Joking aside, WOW, did Serena whip Sharapova something bad. My GF says that’s payback for all the many snide remarks Miss Shrieky talked about the Williams sisters a few years ago. That’s some awful kind of payback though.

I don’t see Serena’s matches as boring at all just becoz she demolished her opponents. If the men do that, we read that they are on fire, especially if they are a fave, and the accolades are plentiful, but when Serena does it, she’s boring? Doesn’t make sense to me.

Polo Says:

I concede. Graf in the best because she has more majors than Navratilova and Serena. And she has the most balanced distribution of majors. And she is the only one to win a true Golden Slam (all majors plus an Olympic gold in a single year) I cannot imagine anybody else who can do that. That is one record that looks unbeatable.

Michael Says:

Serena is certainly one of the All time Greats, but definitely not the GREATEST. For me the GREATEST women Tennis player was Martina Navarotilova and Steffi Graf comes next.

metan Says:

Enough with all these greatness discussion, all top 5 players are great.

Wog boy Says:

Can anyone tell me why are you forgeting Margaret Court. If it is for numbers her’s are by far the best, if it is for longevity same, she even gave birth to two kids while winning GS tournaments and acomplish life after tennis like no tennis player did before nor will do after.
Maybe because she speaks her mind on certain issues that are not always PC, but that is what she believes in and what the people she represents expect her to do. She was was doing that 25 years ago, when she fell out of love with WTA and she is doing it today because she believes in what she is preaching. My outmost respect for Margaret Court, and no I am not part of her denomination or her church or her church TV chanel, just somebody with freat respect for the people like her.

Wog boy Says:

It is “great” not “freat”

jane Says:

Thanks for the information racquet – ” Also, according to Beyond the Baseline, from 1987 to 1989 she was in every final of every tournament she played” – WOW! That’s stunning.

Kimberly or Kimmi – do you know by when we need to make our picks for the Toronto Masters??

scineram Says:

Not even close.

Sienna Says:

When had Navratilova the chance to win olympics? she was not only winning tournements she also gave direction and face to womensgame. I feel there is where she edges graff AND Seles would have been the best player if she wasnt stabbed.

racquet Says:

re: Margaret Court

Of course she’s right up there but the fact that many of those titles are AOs from the days when few elite players turned up has to be considered. Also, for much of her career 3 of the 4 slams were on grass.

“When had Navratilova the chance to win olympics?”

Um, she was still going strong in 1988 and just reached the Wimbledon final.

Sienna Says:

Yeah right that is just fairplay from you .

Haveyou noticed how olympics was welcomed by tennisplayers ?
Nough said

Wog boy Says:


Fair enough, but in that case Rod Laver and the others are in the same boat.They played on the surface that was at that time. She won first GS 1960 and last in 1973 (three that year methinks), who else has 13 years from first to last GS, plus giving births in that time, 24 single, 19 doubles, 19 mix doubles GS, six years #1 in preopen era, they worked it out, and #1 in 1973, that makes seven years. They say that she was crashing her oponents same way Serena iz doing today. Extremly strong and big girl with work ethics next to none. She was called “Aussie Amazon,” because she did weights, circuit training and running along sandy hillsides.( From Wiki)

The International Tennis Hall of Fame states, “For sheer strenght of performance and accomplishment there has never been a tennis player to match (her)” !

racquet Says:

@ wog boy

I know ALL about her. I read her biography when I was young ;) I’m not diminishing her achievements at all, just putting the 4 AO wins over Jan Lehane O’Neill into perspective. She’s top 4 without a doubt.

Wog boy Says:


I believe you do, probably more than me.
The only reason I butted in was that I noticed when ever these arguments about GOAT started, she was rarely mentioned if at all. No bad feelings:)

Dave Says:

Margaret Smith-Court: 62 grand slam titles

– Singles grand slams: 24 titles, 5 runner-ups

– Women’s doubles grand slams: 19 titles, 14 runner-ups

– Mixed doubles grand slams: 19 titles, 4 runner-ups

alison Says:

Venus and Serena win Gold in the womens Doubles,congrats girls,they have to go down as the one of the best pairings ever in womens doubles.

MMT Says:

racquet: Margaret Court also had victories in Australian finals against Maria Bueno, Evonne Goolagong and Billie Jean King. I think it’s a bit of a myth that her majors have to be discounted. She may not have won as many had the Australian been coveted as much as the other majors, but that’s a lot of speculation, and there are other points to consider as well – for example what kind of sacrifice was it for her to play all those Australian championships? Did it cost her other majors? Maybe yes, maybe no – we’ll never know. What we DO know is that it was a major and she won 11 of them and that’s pretty extraordinary no matter who was playing.

Steve 27 Says:

Steffi is the REAL GOAT, not only on women also in general. 22 GS, at least 4 in each GS, more channels slams than Borg, the genuine Golden Slam, more than 300 weeks as number 1(not even Federer)
5 GS in a row (not even the mythic Laver), 13 GS finals in a row (all time record) and much more records. She is the best!

salleh Says:

steve, dont compare mens tennis to womans tennis. 1 male gs title is equal to 5 female gs titles.

JK Says:

Greatest arrogant ever..

Lori Says:

annoying tendencies in american tennis that will unfortunately NOT go away: 1. claiming that men’s tennis is superior 2. claiming that modern players are greater than classic players. look, Serena fans want it both ways. they want to say that in Steffi’s day, there wasn’t any ‘depth’–but many say that depth is lacking in Serena’s field. OR, they want to argue that Steffi just isn’t as dominant as Serena is. which….no way. Steffi CREAMED her opponents in gs finals and throughout. she was also way more consistent. the point is, whoever your fav is, will also be your vote for ‘GOAT’. if it’s martina, steffi, margaret (good points raised above!), serena or chris, then you’ll pick her for greatest ever. there isn’t an ‘objective’ answer, which is fine.

Dave from Tennis DVDs Says:

No way. The hardest slam to win is the French Open. All the greats have won it muliple times, Serena only once.

Lori Says:

also a good point dave. why so many ‘experts’ write off the French two weeks after it ends, in order to argue that Wimbledon is somehow more important, I don’t understand–except that those ‘experts’ tend themselves not to have actually won the French very often (I shall not name names:)

Cathy Says:

The French is the weakest slam. look at the no of mediocre players who have won it; Li Na, Schiavone, Myskina, Ivanovic. To win Wimbledon you have to be a real champion!!

Anna Says:

I think it is foolish to compare champions from different eras. Martina was the best in her generation, Steffi, the best in hers and Serena is the best in hers. Counting the number of slams won is just ridiculous.

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