Serena Williams Not Looking To Come Down Any Time Soon

Serena Williams, the current World No. 1 on the WTA Tour, enjoyed a stellar 2014 season. Some notable results included titles in Brisbane, Miami, Rome, Stanford, and Cincinnati. More impressive highlights included another title at the US Open and victory at the year-end WTA Finals. 2015 has started perfectly for Williams as well as she is not showing any signs of slowing down despite being one of the elder players in the Top 100.

Williams, born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1981, is currently 33 years old. As of the current February 2nd, 2015 rankings there are only two players older than her in the Top 100. Those two players are her sister Venus Williams and 2010 French Open champion Francesca Schiavone. Kimiko Date-Krumm, a former Wimbledon semi-finalist, is another notable player on tour that is older than Serena however at time of writing she had fallen out of the Top 100 in the world.

That Serena Williams is still ranked No. 1 in the world at her age is incredibly impressive given that many former World No. 1s had retired by the age of 33. Examples, whether due to injury or personal decisions, include the following:

Justine Henin

Kim Clijsters

Dinara Safina

Lindsay Davenport

Martina Hingis

Amelie Mauresmo

At the time of their respective retirements, all of the players above were beyond their best tennis and yet Williams is still winning Grand Slams, sometimes with little challenge.

It is inevitable that, if Williams doesn’t voluntarily retire first, she will hit a point in her career when she’s not able to defend her World No. 1 ranking any longer. However that point in her career could be a long ways off for two major reasons. Firstly, Williams’ edge over the competition has a lot to do with her superior athletic strength – an advantage that I don’t see diminishing any time soon. Secondly, Williams matches up well against all of the other major talents of her time and there does not seem to be a younger player emerging who is a clear threat to Williams yet.

serena williams showing frustration 2015

In regard to the first point it is important to note that Williams, as an athletic specimen, clearly outmatches so many of the other women on tour in regard to her superior strength and power. In these regards, she truly makes so many of the other women on tour appear to be amateurs. I don’t think that her advancing age will negatively affect that attribute as much as it may affect other things, like foot speed and cardio. If true, then what that could mean is that Williams’ main edge over her competitors, her superior physical strength and ability to generate superior power in shots, should be present in the upcoming tennis seasons, even as the gap between her and her competitors in terms of age widens.

In regard to the second point there are numerous players currently active on tour that used to be ranked No. 1. Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Caroline Wozniacki, Ana Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic, and Venus Williams have all spent time on top of the WTA rankings. However none of these players are clear threats to the current World No. 1.

Venus Williams, of the six players just listed, is the only one with a respectable head-to-head record against Serena, having defeated her eleven times in twenty-five attempts. However Venus is well passed her very best tennis and seems unlikely to supplant Serena on top of the women’s tour. There was a time when Serena vs. Venus was a virtual coin toss but, WTA Montreal 2014 aside, in recent years it has been mostly Serena that has won their matches.

Taking a look at the other currently active former World No. 1s, we find pretty dismal results against Serena. Sharapova is just 2-17 against the current World No. 1, Azarenka is a poor 3-14 against the American, Wozniacki is 1-10, and Ivanovic is 1-8. All of those poor records make Jankovic’s 4-10 record against Williams seem pretty respectable. With Venus in what has to be considered the tail-end of her career and with the other major talents of our time not stacking up to Serena, it is hard to picture anyone well known putting an end to Williams’ reign soon.

Furthermore it is difficult to find anyone who is currently making a name for herself supplanting Serena soon as well. Perhaps Eugenie Bouchard or Madison Keys will have something to say about who is ranked No. 1 in the years ahead but 2015 does not appear to be their year yet. Bouchard lost some momentum in Melbourne Park while Keys, although currently surging, was held in check in at the Aussie by Serena herself.

serena williams wins australian open cup 2015 images

It’s true that everyone that goes up in tennis eventually comes down. However I don’t think Serena will be coming down in 2015. She’s already got the Australian Open in her back pocket and those ranking points will help buoy her for the next year. Her ranking points from the WTA Finals are hers as well for most of 2015.

In conclusion, there isn’t a young talent with a clear edge against Serena emerging, the proven talents all have losing records against her – most of them completely lopsided – and Serena’s physical strength advantage is not going to disappear any time soon in my opinion. She currently has 226 weeks to her credit as the World No. 1. WTA Tennis fans should have full confidence in her adding another 30 to 40 weeks to that total this year – if not a full 52.


  1. @emma Really? You don’t think Venus’ best is history? I mean I know she’s ranked 11th but that’s a world away from No. 1…../Shane Lambert

  2. excellent article except I disagree that venus’ “best tennis is behind her”.  venus played very well at the aussie open and is now #11 in the world.

    likewise, I wouldn’t discount Madison keys defeating serena this year either – she improving and improving fast!!

    serena is definitely the GOAT and I look forward to her hopefully catching graf this year – wouldn’t a calendar year slam be dandy, we can dream!!

  3. The author should be congratulated for his correct
    observations.Let me add to this, that
    Serena Williams’ endurance being number one is not an accident, but the result
    of proper and intelligent physical conditioning.
    For example and quite specifically, consider her teams’
    pro-active approach in dealing with physical problems which could take her out
    of the sport.   Two years ago and before
    Serena Williams was suffering from a weak back.   At the year-end WTA championship, Serena
    injured herself by wrenching her back when charging to the net.   Consequently, she almost had to withdraw
    from the tournament in that set.  
    Instead she accepted the pain, got through the set and won the
    tournament.   Again, earlier in the year
    Serena wrenched her back in practice two days prior to competition and then in
    that debilitated state was actually defeated by Sloan Stevens, who otherwise
    would have no chance to defeat her whatsoever.  
    In commenting on her physical condition, she actually identified her
    back as her “dirty little secret”
    that she and her team did not wish to admit to.   Weak backs that are susceptible to injury
    have eventually taken many great champions out of the sport.  For example, Andre Agassi is the obvious
    example because his weak back ended his career, and it could have ended and
    should have ended Serena’s career had she and her professional team not aggressively
    addressed her conditioning.

    What Serena and her team did was to adopt a conditioning
    program to specifically strengthen her lower back and abdomen.  Today, Serena Williams is now not shy to be
    photographed with a bear back or an exposed abdomen.   Why?  
    Because today, two years later, Serena’s back and abdominal muscles are
    extremely toned and fit.   At her age, Serena’s
    abdomen is now actually ripped with muscle structure, the result of many hours
    of conscientious conditioning.   Her
    figure has even dramatically improved as her waist has slimmed.   She shows off her waist and back in her
    dress now because she is proud of her conditioning and those muscles that she
    has worked so hard to develop.

    Developed as she is in the abdomen and in her back
    muscularly, Serena is now far less likely to suffer back injury during
    competition or even practice.  
    Consequently, she now is far less likely to be physically injured in
    this coming year’s competition.   I had
    written Serena several times and encouraged her even to go further, to bring
    onto her staff a full time chiropractor to adjust her back after ever match
    both in practice and at tournaments, but she as yet has not done this and I
    still think that she should acquire that level of professional services to
    insure her continued physical well-being.

    The point is, Serena’s longevity in her sport now is not a
    mere accident.   Rather it is the result
    of careful conditioning and many hours laboring to strengthen her torso and the
    rest of her body.   The good news is that
    this conditioning is in fact lengthening her career, and she may well be able
    to extend her career for a number of years yet to come because of this
    intelligent management of her body.   As
    long as Serena is prepared to put in the hours to adequately reverse the course
    of natural aging, she hopefully will be with us as an inspiring champion for
    some years to come.


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