I thought I’d start off my WTA blog this week by saying that it’s a well-known fact that good things come in pairs. Socks, chopsticks, peanut butter and jelly, salt and pepper, Tom and Jerry, Bonnie and Clyde, Batman and Robin.. I could keep going, actually, but I won’t because my point is that there is an unstoppable pair doing good, great, amazing things in tennis right now (that’s right, I didn’t just say women’s tennis).
I have learned, the longer I work at Tennis Warehouse, that sometimes there is no arguing with a diehard tennis fan. It’s easier to nod and smile than get into a never-ending argument. Me? Federer is king, but don’t get in the way of Carol (she is the biggest Fed fan you’ll ever meet!) Jason? Kirilenko and Rafa fan all the way home, and shame on you for ever suggesting otherwise. Karly? Gasquet is always the best, regardless. Spencer? He’s gained the reputation to always put Murray as winning the Slam brackets we do (your day will come Spen!) We all love tennis, yet we all have our (logical and illogical) favorites. There is no arguing or justifying most of this, particularly when things are, to put it simply, arguable and unjustifiable. This said, every once in a while someone, or some people, come along who silence the critics.
OK, fine, I’ll let the cat out of the bag.
Serena and Venus Williams are re-exploring what it means to dominate. They literally define the word. I have been writing a lot about Serena lately – and rightly so, she is playing the best tennis of her life and doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon. Individually she is impressive, but pair her with her sister and these two are just, well, extraordinary. I’m not saying that they are GOAT, but there is no denying the statistics.
Let me explain. From the ages of 14, these girls hit the tennis world like two tornados, and nearly a decade and a half later things are still a whirlwind. Yes, things have slowed down, Venus got her autoimmune disease and they floated around as time passed, but after about 16 years on tour they are coming back out on top. Not only have they taken charge of the WTA with a combined 21 Grand Slam titles, but every four years we also consistently see success at the Olympics.
This year at the 2012 London Olympics, Serena’s singles victory against Sharapova (6-0 6-1, phew! That was demolishing) made her the first player (aside from Venus) to win both the singles and doubles gold medals in the same Olympics. They also both have four gold medals each, which trumps any other tennis player in history. These two girls are the greatest Olympic tennis players. Ever. No one, man or woman, can even match them with any medals, let alone golds.
Serena actually has also done something called the Golden Slam, and considering the Olympics only come around every four years, this is noteworthy. A Golden Slam is winning all four Grand Slam titles and Olympic gold, AND Serena’s also done it in, wait for it, both singles AND doubles. The only other person to achieve a Golden Slam (in singles only) was Steffi Graf. When it comes to Serena, love her or hate her, you have to applaud her.
You thought I was done, ha. Nope. That’s just singles. Doubles is yet another tale of Olympic success. Together playing doubles they are the only pairing to ever win gold, three times. That’s right. There aren’t even any men who have done as well as these two. And the cherry on top? In the 15 Olympic matches they have played, they haven’t lost a SINGLE set.
I have to say, I haven’t always been the biggest Serena fan, but I take my hat off to her and Venus. At this point, it moves past about liking or disliking, and right to acknowledging their place in the history books. The most impressive pair in tennis right now (as a singles and doubles domination combination)? Goes to the sisters. Good work keeping it in the family.