Let’s face it, the Williams sisters really haven’t had the best tennis season so far. Between Venus’ struggle with Sjogdren’s syndrome and Serena’s first-round loss to Virginie Rizzo at the French Open, there were many who doubted that the two would ever again reach the finals of a Grand Slam let alone win them. Yet at the age of thirty and with a two-year gap between her last win at a Major, Serena Williams has proved to be the most triumphant comeback queen by taking her fifth Wimbledon Singles Title this weekend.
With all the health problems that she has suffered over the past 18 months and the emotional highs and lows that she has spoken publicly about, it seemed impossible to think that Williams would once more triumph on the lawns of the AET, particularly with so many strong and hungry young players topping the women’s rankings. But since the opening rounds began Williams has played some of the best tennis of her life, even breaking her own record for aces in a match not once but twice – 23 against Zheng Jie and 24 against Victoria Azarenka. Her 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska on Centre Court on Sunday didn’t just mark her 29th Grand Slam title, it also showed the world that Serena Williams was back where she belongs – at the very top of her game.
The player who has admitted that “I didn’t think I’d play tennis again at one point” following a series of operations and hospitalisation was back on court just a few hours after her triumph where she and sister Venus claimed yet another Wimbledon doubles title (this was their fifth!). Battling her own health issues, Venus called her sister “such a fighter” and spoke about the inspiration that she took from her singles win – “I was definitely inspired by Serena’s singles performance. I couldn’t have done it without her, so it’s great”.
Heralding this win as “the beginning of a great phase” and with her health back on track, Serena is not prepared to slow down just yet – “This whole tournament I felt really great physically. So it’s definitely the beginning of something great. I hope it is.” Despite being the only woman in her thirties to win a title at Wimbledon since Martina Navratilova in the 1990s, the Serena Williams that we saw on court this weekend was the definitive women’s champion and one that we hope will continue to go from strength to strength.