Serena Williams’ record year could be her most important year

Serena Williams' record year could be her most important year

Serena Williams has done it all in tennis, but there’s so much more to come.

Serena Williams’ record year might have come and gone, but she has only just begun to make history.

If she had retired in the leadup to this year’s Australian Open to allow her body to recover from injuries, then she probably would have retired at the end of 2009.

Instead, one of the greatest players of all-time, who has won 12 Grand Slam titles, including three consecutive major titles – and who has just extended her unbeaten streak to 13 career matches – will be a part of the 2011 Australian Open final on Saturday.

The only other woman to have won all four majors at the Australian Open, and who has not been defeated at its home tournament since 1997, is Margaret Court, who won the French Open, Wimbledon and US Open in the same year. She ended the year by winning her fifth Wimbledon title.

Williams’ record year might have ended with the US Open in 2009, but it really started in 2007 – when she won her first Wimbledon title and two majors, followed by an epic five-set win over her arch-nemesis, Serena.

The five Grand Slam titles will be a more rounded picture of her year than the one in which she won the Australian Open and her first clay-court title at the French Open.

And with so many more championships ahead, it could also be Williams’ most important year on the court as she approaches her 15th birthday on Saturday.

We could be talking about Serena Williams’ record year, or it could be her “most important year” – two things that are difficult to imagine. But no one knows who she will be when 15 years old, or even eight.

The last time a 14-year-old achieved her peak was 1970, the year she reached the world No 1 ranking.

To do that, she needed to win a set in her final two finals of the season, and defeat the champion, Margaret Court, at the US Open. She also needed to win Wimbledon, the year’s biggest event.

Williams’ record was made even more impressive by the fact that it had not been achieved on clay at the time – where she had won her only previous Grand Slam title.

It seems that Williams

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