Confirming Her Dominance, Serena Wins Fourth Wimbledon Title, 13th Major
July 3, 2010 -- Sixty-seven minutes. That's the time Serena Williams needed to win her 4th Wimbledon title and 13th Major, surpassing Billie Jean King and Suzanne Lenglen on the all-time champions' list.
Sixty-seven minutes is one-eighth the time John Isner and Nicolas Mahut spent on court in their fifth set alone. Sixty-seven minutes is just a bit longer than The Tonight Show.
Vera Zvonareva played as well as she could. But no woman was about to stand in Williams' way as she chased history. She will now be seen as the epitome of elite women athletes.
"I'm happy to win 13," Serena said. "I'm happy to have gotten this far. But, you know, it just takes a dream and a little work effort."
Williams moved up the ranks to fifth amongst all-time major title leaders, behind Margaret Court, Steffi Graf, Helen Wills Moody, and Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert, who are tied at fourth. She has contested 16 major titles, having lost only three -- two to Venus at Wimbledon and one to Venus at the U. S. Open.
Serena stands three major wins away from tying Roger Federer's sixteen -- the all time best. If she remains healthy and concentrates on tennis, more than extra curricular activities, then there is no reason why she cannot stand toe-to-toe with Federer or go beyond. However, winning majors may not be her priority.
"At the end of the day, I would love to open more schools in Africa or in the United States," Serena said. "I would like to be remembered, Okay, yeah, she was a tennis player, but, wow, she really did a lot to inspire other people and help other people."
Serena may never be considered the greatest woman player of all time for many reasons. Partially because of the number of WTA titles she's won: 35. Navratilova leads with 137. However, Serena has her 'Serena Slam,' a coveted collection of trophies from all four Majors. She shares that distinction with Court, Graf, Navratilova and Evert.
With her place in tennis history secured, what makes Serena such a dominant player? Simply put: her serve. It can be compared to the consistent quality seen from Isner and Mahut. In other words, it ranks with the best. She served over 90 aces during the fortnight.
Finalist Zvonareva saw zero break chances today because she couldn't touch Queen Serena's serve -- either her first or second -- making effective returns nearly impossible.
Serena won 94% of her points when her first serve hit its target, which only emphasizes her precision plus a plethora of qualities.
She showed off all her valued characteristics over the sixty-seven minutes. She ran fast when necessary, scrambling up to the net to flick a down-the-line backhand winner... an awesome, improbable shot for a majority of men and women on tour. She ran around her backhand and forehand, demonstrating vigorous athleticism and timing. She moved the ball wide and wider, at such severe angles that Zvonareva was left stranded and defenseless in the vast expanse of Centre Court.
Serena's most daunting tool, however, is her mind. She knows the court intuitively. It lies at her feet like an artist's canvas. She has an ability to move from point to point and leave errors behind, like her three double faults today. Stuffed inside her lock-tight mental game is patience, too. She applies it when unsteady patches come and go. She waits for chances. She pulls from a resume of major experience that no other woman can currently access.
The first set was in Williams's pocket after Zvonareva failed to hold serve in the eighth game. She didn't play a faulty final point, the one that changed the outcome of the match. It's just that Serena smacked a running forehand that veered away from the Russian's racquet, leaving her hopelessly vulnerable. She should have covered the line better, but the absurd speed of the point disallowed that.
Like Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, Serena Williams forces opponents to stretch beyond their comfort zones as she clearly illustrated in the first game of the second set when she broke Zvonareva -- the first of two breaks in the 63 62 victory.
To open the last game of the championship final, Serena cracked her fastest serve: a 122 MPH ace. She kicked in a second serve on the next point. It had so much wiggy spin that it bounced to three times the height of Zvonareva.
And so the set went, until destiny met with reality and Williams tossed her racquet skyward as the 2010 Women's Singles Champion.
After The Duke of Kent handed Queen Serena the Venus Rosewater Platter, she spoke to the crowd on hand, thanking her God Jehovah, her parents, her entourage and the fans. Williams was relaxed in her jubilation.
Zvonareva, with tears in her eyes, sounded slightly apologetic telling the audience that she wasn't able 'to show my best tennis,' adding that Serena was the cause and 'a true champion.'
Days will pass before Zvonareva fully experiences her accomplishment today on her first visit to Centre Court during the women's final. Her return to the game through a barrage of injuries is a champion's story in itself. Her tears were, perhaps, ones of gratitude. In her box were life-long friends and her 'physio man' as she called her surgeon. Without him, she said, she would not have been there.
Before the two women left the court, Serena Williams's name had been added to Champions Roll of Honour, making official her defense of the title.
Serena Williams can now return home to Palm Gardens, Florida, and talk with big sister Venus about their dominance at The All England Club. Between them, they share nine singles titles from Wimbledon. Venus leads with five. Serena's hot on her trail to match it, but does have her limits.
Asked in her press conference if she would still be playing at 38, Serena said, "If I am, I want you to personally escort me off the court. There's no way I need to be out here at 38."