Serena Williams -- where does she ranked compared to the other greats of the open era

Where does Serena Williams rank among the female open era greats

  • # 1-3 (please specify)

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  • Total voters
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Serena Williams -- where is her place among the greats of the open era

I just wonder where you think Serena's place is among the female open era greats. For orientation, below are the players you'd probaly have to compare her to.


Margaret Court
Ann Haydon-Jones
Billie Jean King
Nancy Richey Gunter
Virginia Wade

Evonne Goolagong
Chris Evert
Martina Navratilova
Tracy Austin
Hana Mandlikova

Steffi Graf
Gabriela Sabatini
Monica Seles
Jana Novotna
Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario

Conchita Martinez
Jennifer Capriati
Mary Pierce
Martina Hingis
Lindsay Davenport

Venus Williams
Amelie Mauresmo
Justine Henin
Kim Clijsters
Maria Sharapova
 
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1. Graf
2. Court
3. Evert
4. Navratilova
5. King
6. Seles
7. Serena Williams
8. Henin
9. Goolagong
10. Venus Williams

is my order of those you listed
 

boredone3456

G.O.A.T.
Based on Open era only players, Serena would be Behind Navratilova, Graf, Evert, Court, and King. I guess I would list those women in order as

Martina Navratilova
Steffi Graf
Chris Evert
Margaret Court
Billie Jean King

Serena Williams
Monica Seles
Justine Henin
Evonne Goolagong
Venus Williams

Hana Mandlikova
Martina Hingis
Tracy Austin
Lindsay Davenport
Ann Haydon Jones

Virginia Wade
Arantxa Sanchez Vicario
Mary Pierce
Nancy Richey
Maria Sharapova
Jennifer Capriati

Gabriela Sabatini
Kim Clijsters
Amelie Mauresmo
Jana Novotna
Conchita Martinez

So Open Era only I'd Rate Serena at number 6....factoring in pre open era Serena falls to number 9.
 
1. Graf
2. Court
3. Evert
4. Navratilova
5. King
6. Seles
7. Serena Williams
8. Henin
9. Goolagong
10. Venus Williams

is my order of those you listed
Very similar list to mine, and same top 10, although only one plyer occupies the same place in our rankings -- Serena. I'd swap Graf and Court, Evert and Navratilova, King and Seles, and order Goolagong-Venus-Henin, but all this is within the margin of error.

If Serena continues to go as strongly as she does now though, #5 is not without reach.
 
Very similar list to mine, and same top 10, although only one plyer occupies the same place in our rankings -- Serena. I'd swap Graf and Court, Evert and Navratilova, King and Seles, and order Goolagong-Venus-Henin, but all this is within the margin of error.

If Serena continues to go as strongly as she does now though, #5 is not without reach.
I agree Serena could reach #5. That is the highest I believe she can go at this point. Her massive 2004-2006 slump killed any chances of going higher when Graf, Evert, Court, and Navratilova are pretty much the undisputed top 4 of Open Era players anyway. She could not suffer that major mid career lapse if she wanted to reach any of those 4.
 

Lionheart392

Professional
My top 10 open era list is:
1. Graf
2. Navratilova
3. Evert
4. Court
5. King
6. Serena Williams
7. Monica Seles
8. Justine Henin
9. Evonne Goolagong
10. Venus Williams

Yes Serena could catch up to King I think (although I'd guess she won't), but Court is too far away and she doesn't have anywhere near enough time left to aim for the #4 spot.
 

drwood

Professional
I agree Serena could reach #5. That is the highest I believe she can go at this point. Her massive 2004-2006 slump killed any chances of going higher when Graf, Evert, Court, and Navratilova are pretty much the undisputed top 4 of Open Era players anyway. She could not suffer that major mid career lapse if she wanted to reach any of those 4.
Depends on how much longer she keeps playing. Winning 3 of 4 slams in a year and being consistently the far-and-away #1 or 2 player on grass annually means she can probably challenge for slams for the next 5+ years IF SHE WANTS TO (I don't think she'll last that long, but she could if she got back in 02-04 shape); if she won an average of 2 slams/year for the next 4 years (improbable but not impossible), she'd pass both Navratilova and Evert in total slams.

That being said, given how things are now, I agree that it will be hard to pass Navratilova or Evert.
 
Depends on how much longer she keeps playing. Winning 3 of 4 slams in a year and being consistently the far-and-away #1 or 2 player on grass annually means she can probably challenge for slams for the next 5+ years IF SHE WANTS TO (I don't think she'll last that long, but she could if she got back in 02-04 shape); if she won an average of 2 slams/year for the next 4 years (improbable but not impossible), she'd pass both Navratilova and Evert in total slams.

That being said, given how things are now, I agree that it will be hard to pass Navratilova or Evert.
No offense but you seem to have a vastly exagerrated forecast of how long all elite athletes (I am even thinking your comments on Tiger Woods on golf also) will last at the very top consistently. Navratilova was the latest blooming great player in history and won only 1 slam after age 30. Serena is going to be 28 at years end, she isnt going to be at the very top for even close to 5+ years whether she wants to or not. The aging process will soon take effect, she is already a lesser player than what she was 5-6 years ago even if her # of wins vs a much weakened field deceive that somewhat, and the womens field will not stay as bad as it is now forever.

Also even if she did surpass Evert and Navratilova in slam wins (which I highly doubt) it wouldnt mean she would rank over them all time. The extremely weak womens field from 2006 to currently, barring improvements, her giant mid career hole where she did almost nothing for 3 years, and her disinterest in non slam tournaments, would all work against her and require her to win far more majors than Evert and Navratilova to be considered seriously vs them. Although in fairness to Serena the 1982-1986 field that Navratilova lorded over was probably just as weak as the current field overall.
 
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No offense but you seem to have a vastly exagerrated forecast of how long all elite athletes (I am even thinking your comments on Tiger Woods on golf also) will last at the very top consistently. Navratilova was the latest blooming great player in history and won only 1 slam after age 30. Serena is going to be 28 at years end, she isnt going to be at the very top for even close to 5+ years whether she wants to or not. The aging process will soon take effect, she is already a lesser player than what she was 5-6 years ago even if her # of wins vs a much weakened field deceive that somewhat, and the womens field will not stay as bad as it is now forever.

Also even if she did surpass Evert and Navratilova in slam wins (which I highly doubt) it wouldnt mean she would rank over them all time. The extremely weak womens field from 2006 to currently, barring improvements, her giant mid career hole where she did almost nothing for 3 years, and her disinterest in non slam tournaments, would all work against her and require her to win far more majors than Evert and Navratilova to be considered seriously vs them. Although in fairness to Serena the 1982-1986 field that Navratilova lorded over was probably just as weak as the current field overall.
I didn't consider the current field that weak until Henin's retirement. But in 2008, with Henin, Clijsters prematurely retired and Sharapova out injured, there was noone with starpower left except for the Williams sisters, who had been around for ages.

I have a gutfeeling though that 2008 was the low, and that ladies' tennis will gradually get better going forward. Who knows, perhaps in 5 years we are in another great era.
 

drwood

Professional
No offense but you seem to have a vastly exagerrated forecast of how long all elite athletes (I am even thinking your comments on Tiger Woods on golf also) will last at the very top consistently. Navratilova was the latest blooming great player in history and won only 1 slam after age 30. Serena is going to be 28 at years end, she isnt going to be at the very top for even close to 5+ years whether she wants to or not. The aging process will soon take effect, she is already a lesser player than what she was 5-6 years ago even if her # of wins vs a much weakened field deceive that somewhat, and the womens field will not stay as bad as it is now forever.

Also even if she did surpass Evert and Navratilova in slam wins (which I highly doubt) it wouldnt mean she would rank over them all time. The extremely weak womens field from 2006 to currently, barring improvements, her giant mid career hole where she did almost nothing for 3 years, and her disinterest in non slam tournaments, would all work against her and require her to win far more majors than Evert and Navratilova to be considered seriously vs them. Although in fairness to Serena the 1982-1986 field that Navratilova lorded over was probably just as weak as the current field overall.
I believe I'm pretty realistic about the lifespan of a professional athlete. Look at Agassi for instance -- made a slam final at age 35, most likely b/c he wasted the first 5 years of his career (as Mats Wilander noted). Serena is similar, having (as you noted) basically wasted from July 2003 thru January 2007, so on that basis, I would expect her to have an career end at an older age than most athletes -- IF SHE TAKES IT SERIOUSLY -- which is a BIG if.

About Tiger in golf, there has never been in that game a comparable physical specimen -- he basically forced all top players to have physical trainers, which was unheard of in 1996. Tiger is already 33; there is no reason he can't be competitive (i.e. a threat to win one major/year) for another 20 years given his physique, mental toughness and mental edge he has over the entire field (and will have as he starts playing against players who were kids when he won his first Masters -- similar to the psychological edge Graf had near the end of her career against young players). That's not unreasonably given that people in markedly worse shape threatened regularly in majors in their late 30s e/early 40s, and even someone like Singh -- who as great as his body has held up is not anywhere physically in Tiger's league -- is still a force in his mid-40s. Not unreasonable at all that Tiger's prime could exceed Singh's by 10 years.

Regarding Serena vs. Navratilova, the women's field has only been extremely weak since Henin retired -- the fields from 2006 till Henin's retirement were better than anything Navratilova faced in the 80s until Graf emerged in 87. Plus, the game has progressed significantly and is much more difficult in Serena's era -- you don't see moonballers win slams anymore, or even make slam finals unlike the 80s and much of the early 90s (that's not to say that prime Navratilova wouldn't munch on the current tour, but its still a fact).
 
I didn't consider the current field that weak until Henin's retirement. But in 2008, with Henin, Clijsters prematurely retired and Sharapova out injured, there was noone with starpower left except for the Williams sisters, who had been around for ages.

I have a gutfeeling though that 2008 was the low, and that ladies' tennis will gradually get better going forward. Who knows, perhaps in 5 years we are in another great era.
So far 2009 has been even worse than 2008. Venus atleast played well on surfaces other than grass last year sometimes. Jankovic is hardly great, but they played some very good tennis last year and has all but dissapeared this year. Ivanovic and Sharapova both played some great tennis in the first half of last year and have been non invisible this year. Safina keeps getting worse with each big final she plays, Dementieva still hasnt proven she can win a big title, and Kuznetsova is her usual hot and cold self. If 2008 was the low shouldnt 2009 have seen atleast a slight improvement, rather than a further regression.
 
So far 2009 has been even worse than 2008. Venus atleast played well on surfaces other than grass last year sometimes. Jankovic is hardly great, but they played some very good tennis last year and has all but dissapeared this year. Ivanovic and Sharapova both played some great tennis in the first half of last year and have been non invisible this year. Safina keeps getting worse with each big final she plays, Dementieva still hasnt proven she can win a big title, and Kuznetsova is her usual hot and cold self. If 2008 was the low shouldnt 2009 have seen atleast a slight improvement, rather than a further regression.
Sharapova is coming back at last, and with Safina, there is for the first time since Sharapova a player able to regularly reach grand slam finals -- even though she still needs to learn how to win them.
 
I believe I'm pretty realistic about the lifespan of a professional athlete. Look at Agassi for instance -- made a slam at age 35, most likely b/c he wasted the first 5 years of his career (as Mats Wilander noted).
Agassi was an extremely rare case in this modern age. The wild out of nowhere exception rather than the rule. Perhaps Serena will be some amazing exception too but I wouldnt bet on it. Anyway you should know full well by now the feelings of the mens field that Federer rose amongst and dominated, the same field Agassi had these late career runs you speak of.

Serena is similar, having (as you noted) basically wasted from July 2003 thru January 2007, so on that basis, I would expect her to have an career end at an older age than most athletes -- IF SHE TAKES IT SERIOUSLY -- which is a BIG if.
I guess that is possible. We will have to wait and see. She did contend regularly in 2004 so I dont think she was asleep just yet. Just didnt have the confidence and had some bad luck. I think 2005 (after Australia) and 2006 were the only years she sort of tanked away on purpose.

About Tiger in golf, there has never been in that game a comparable physical specimen -- he basically forced all top players to have physical trainers, which was unheard of in 1996. Tiger is already 33; there is no reason he can't be competitive (i.e. a threat to win one major/year) for another 20 years given his physique, mental toughness and mental edge he has over the entire field (and will have as he starts playing against players who were kids when he won his first Masters -- similar to the psychological edge Graf had near the end of her career against young players). That's not unreasonably given that people in markedly worse shape threatened regularly in majors in their late 30s e/early 40s, and even someone like Singh -- who as great as his body has held up is not anywhere physically in Tiger's league -- is still a force in his mid-40s. Not unreasonable at all that Tiger's prime could exceed Singh's by 10 years.
For starters I dont consider Singh in his prime anymore at all. I believe the last year of his prime was 2005. He has missed 5 or 6 cuts of majors since the start of 2006 and hasnt had a top 10 in a major for over 3 years now. He had a decent year last year outside the majors I guess, but last year was a joke with Tiger injured then out, all the so called big stars not at their best or having poor years, and the lack of top end quality or impressive up and coming stars of the current overall field outside Tiger to begin with.

No I certainly do not believe Tigers prime will last 10 years longer than Singh at all. I think that is ridiculous. 10 years is a huge amount of time, even in golf. Also Singh has not had any major injuries, Tiger has already had a major knee surgery in his early 30s. I already think he is a little past his best already in fact though he is still the best player for now (like I said I do believe the current field outside of Tiger is very weak anyway).

Regarding Serena vs. Navratilova, the women's field has only been extremely weak since Henin retired -- the fields from 2006 till Henin's retirement were better than anything Navratilova faced in the 80s until Graf emerged in 87. Plus, the game has progressed significantly and is much more difficult in Serena's era -- you don't see moonballers win slams anymore, or even make slam finals unlike the 80s and much of the early 90s (that's not to say that prime Navratilova wouldn't much on the current tour, but its still a fact).
The only regular moonballer that won a slam was Conchita Martinez. Jankovic is closer to a moonballer than any of the slam winners of the last 25 years, and while she didnt win a slam she was last year year end #1.

The fields have been weak since 2006 atleast. In 2006 the only meaningful players were Henin, Mauresmo, and Sharapova. In 2007 the only meaningful players were Henin, Serena, and Venus on fast courts. Anyway Serena only won 1 slam in 2006-2007 so whether the fields were weak since 2006 or just since 2008 dont matter much in her case. Moonballing or not you will be hard pressed to find many weaker major winners than no variety pusher Myskina, headcase without even exceptional talent Kuznetsova, and forehand only (and not even that amazing a forehand) Ivanovic who have accounted for 4 slams between them in the last 5 years. A marginal contender like Mauresmo was also able to have her greatest year ever at 27.

That said I do agree Navratilovas competition from 82-86 was extremely weak. Shriver was the perennial World #4. Austin was pretty much finished after 1981 due to injuries though she played a bit of part time tennis in 82 and 83 where she was already a total shadow of her old self (probably was playing at the level of a Maleeva sister at best those two years). Jaeger who was never that good anyway was done after 1983. Mandlikova was great when she was on, but I find overrated since people seem to judge only her top level which she hit 10% of the time in her prime, and not her consistency or overall sustained level of tennis. Evert was already past her prime a bit when Navratilova began to dominate. Graf and Sabatini were obviously extremely young and pre primed those years, though in 86 a 16 year old Graf was pretty good but still nowhere near her prime level of 88-96. Turnbull was a decent but not great player in her prime who was early 30s by then. Kohde Kilsch, Bunge, Hanika, Jordan, are not even worth noting other than a 15 year old Graf was already slapping them around. So yeah upon second though I am not sure Serenas competition is a weakness compared to Martina atleast, especialy since the field in 1999-2003 was actually pretty good.
 
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Sharapova is coming back at last, and with Safina, there is for the first time since Sharapova a player able to regularly reach grand slam finals -- even though she still needs to learn how to win them.
Maria has not proven anything in her comeback yet. Even if she plays out the rest of the year she missed as much time in 2009 as 2008, and the tennis she has played since her return isnt anywhere near some of the tennis she played in 2008, nor indicative she is a major threat again. Safina would be a good asset to the womens game if her performances in slam finals were not humiliatingly bad.
 
Maria has not proven anything in her comeback yet. Even if she plays out the rest of the year she missed as much time in 2009 as 2008, and the tennis she has played since her return isnt anywhere near some of the tennis she played in 2008, nor indicative she is a major threat again. Safina would be a good asset to the womens game if her performances in slam finals were not humiliatingly bad.
Be patient and hope.
 
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