Originally Posted by kiki
King,Evert,Court,Navratilova.That is longevity.
Serena has won her slams over a 13 year stretch now (1999-2012). In 2002 she dominated tennis, winning 3 of the 4 biggest events and all 3 she played. In 2012 she dominated tennis winning 3 of the 5 biggest events.
Navratilova won 15 of her 18 slams from 1982-1987. She did not have a single multiple slam year or single non Wimbledon slam outside this period. Even her long stretch of her first to last Wimbledon of 1978 to 1990 has now been surpassed by Serena at the U.S Open. From what I value in longevity anyway MN is nowhere close in that category to Serena and also ranks below Court, Evert, and Graf. Choosing to play tennis into your 30s as a pretty good player who doesnt win any major events any longer doesnt give you more longevity than a player who began dominating as a teenager and continued to dominate over 3 different decades of both time and her own lifes age.
Graf won slams from 1987 to 1999. Impressive, again 1 year short of the stretch Serena has already extended hers to. However her first multi slam year was 1988 and her last was 1996.
Evert won her first slam in 1974 and last in 1986. Again impressive, and again just like Navratilova and Graf, 1 year short of the mark Serena has already set and will likely stretch out further. Evert's last time ever as the best player in the World was 1981, and her last multi slam year was 1982. Didnt win a Wimbledon or U.S Open ever again after 1981 either.
Court comes closest of all to Serena I would say. A 3 slam year in 1962 and another in 1973.
King won her first slam in 1966 and her last in 1975. Played many years, but again playing many years and not embarassing yourself (any legend can probably even play into their 40s and hang on tour as a decent player if they choose probably) is not what I value in longevity.
So best longevity:
1. Serena or Court (soon will clearly be Serena)
6. Navratilova (in Open Era, in history she is alot lower than this even)
Note I am talking longevity, not consistency. Serena will never be anywhere near the best in the consistency category, I will admit this. Just like she wont be anywhere near the best ever in the tournament wins category. Some knocks against her but so do all these others. More and more people are already talking about Serena as best ever as it is. I dont feel that way yet, but if she does reach 20 slams it will be a slam dunk. Anyone disagreeing will be spitting in the winds of an overwhelming consensus.