US Open: Serena Williams’ last hurrah at home grand slam headlines fascinating two weeks of tennis
Serena Williams’ retirement from the sport that made her famous is fascinating.
Like many others who have left the sport she has become close with at least one of her successors as the best female player of all time.
In a world where tennis is more or less dominated by older males, she is an outlier.
It is even more unusual that the best player of all time, Venus Williams, was a former world number one who has retired from Wimbledon on the biggest stage.
The Williams sisters are hardly alone.
Of the last 12 women in the men’s top 100 since they were born, only one (Maria Sharapova) has never won a major, while one (Victoria Azarenka) has left the sport and a handful (Victoria Azarenka, Samantha Stosur, Maria Kirilenko) have retired.
That is the good news.
The bad news – the sport is dominated by the Williams sisters. It is dominated by players who were born in the 1960/70s (Williams, Serena and Venus), by players who are two years older than Williams (Karolina Pliskova, Victoria Azarenka, Victoria Azarenkova, Anastasija Sevastova and Dominika Cibulkova), and by players who started in the mid 1980s (Kim Clijsters, Kim Clijsters, Anabel Medina Garrigues, Victoria Azarenkova, Victoria Azarenkova and Victoria Azarenkova).
This is what happened in the past 20 years: Maria Sharapova left the sport and ended up winning 16 Grand Slam title and becoming the most successful female player ever. She was born in the late 1950s.
Kim Clijsters won four Grand Slams and was born in the late 1960s (she finished as the world number two at 19).
Maria Kirilenko won three Grand Slams (in 2012 at 23 years old and 2014 at 22) and was the top-ranked tennis player in the world for almost three decades (from 2002).
Victoria Azarenkova won two Grand Slams before retiring from the sport at 24, just 11 years ago. (She was born in 1978).
And then there are players who are two or