Serena Williams roared through the Miami Open women’s final match in under an hour, defeating Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-2, 6-0 on Saturday, April 4. Suarez Navarro seemed uncomfortable from the start and, after holding her first two service games, managed only 3 winners to Williams’ 29. The win means Serena remains undefeated in 2015 — Williams had to withdraw from Indian Wells in March, due to a knee injury.
With Serena’s many accomplishments, her place in the tennis history books seems assured. The Miami win marks Williams 8th title there, her 700th victory and 66th WTA Tournament win. “I’d like to believe the older I get, the better I get.” And she’s not the only one.
Former professional player, Brad Gilbert, commented on her staying power in the Vogue interview with Serena in their April 2015 issue.
“She won her first major at seventeen, and now she’s winning at 33? That’s a range of sixteen years. Whether for men or women, that kind of longevity in tennis is unheard of.”
How does she do it? Serena puts it down to a multitude of things, including intense physical training from a young age and a shortened schedule to keep emotional and physical fatigue and injury at bay. But it was when Williams was sidelined by a blood clot in 2011 that she truly realized what the game meant to her.
“I really missed being out there. I just missed hitting the ball. I realized then, Wow, when am I going to retire? Because I don’t ever want to stop.”
And if Williams is just getting better with age, she may still have more than one opportunity to do something she has yet to do: win a calendar-year Grand Slam. In fact, after beating Maria Sharapova to win this year’s Australian open, the New York Times suggests that, though it’s a long shot, this could be the year. Steffi Graf was the last woman to do it way back in 1988, testament to just how difficult a task it is. Serena, likely not wanting to raise expectations too high, remained noncommittal.
“Obviously, anyone that wins the Australian Open wants to win a Grand Slam,” said Williams. “I’ve won the Australian Open six times, and I have not done that yet. I’m not saying this is the year or not the year. Who knows?”
Eventually the tennis will end, and Serena Williams already has intentions to increase her involvement in fashion and philanthropy. Maybe entertainment, if the viral video of her take on Beyonce’s “7/11” on Vogue‘s YouTube channel is any indication. But Williams isn’t ready to quit just yet.
“I feel like I have a desire to be better than ever,” said Serena. “I am never, ever satisfied. I always want to do more, be more, reach a new level. Not just in tennis but in everything I do.”
Catch Serena Williams at the Mutua Madrid Open on May 2 in her clay court run up to the 2015 French Open on May 25.
[Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images Sport]
[Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Sport]