With her three-set victory over Lucie Safarova in the 2015 French Open final, Serena Williams secured her 20th Grand Slam and third-straight in succession dating back to the 2014 U.S. Open. We’re talking about nearly 15 years of dominance on the court by the younger Williams sister. She had a few down years (2004-2006), but the 33-year old is showing no signs of slowing down as she reaches her autumn years on the women’s tour.
Forbes writer Patrick Rishe predicts that Serena will see a spike in endorsements as a result of reaching the 20-Slam milestone. He also argued that her market reach had seen a lull ever her since her 2009 meltdown at the U.S. Open.
If she goes on to capture Wimbledon 2015, she will have achieved her second “Serena Slam” (four consecutive Slams, not in order) and if she completes the 2015 Grand Slam by also winning the U.S. Open she will have tied Steffi Graf for most Grand Slam titles in the Open era with 22 (Margaret Court has the most at 24).
After winning the French Open, Serena Williams is more unstoppable than ever: http://t.co/Stp07IakLd
— Rolling Stone (@RollingStone) June 8, 2015
Rishe postulates that as a result of “her excellence,” Serena “will see at least one or two more deals come her way which could net an additional $2-8 million annually in endorsements over the next 2-3 years.”
He also suggests that Graf’s accomplishments were more impressive considering she had to contend with the likes of Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Monica Seles (45 career singles slams among them) as compared to Serena’s contemporaries in sister Venus, Maria Sharapova and Justine Henin (19 total singles slams).
But Serena stands to become among the most dominant athletes of all time (male or female) if she manages to amass five more Grand Slams. Roger Federer’s 17 career Grand Slams are the most on the men’s tennis side and when looking at other individual sports like golf, Jack Nicklaus’ 18 Grand Slams and Patty Berg’s 15 LPGA already pale in comparison to Serena’s accomplishments.
When considering players on team sports, Maurice Richard won 11 Stanley Cups as a player, Bill Russell won 11 NBA titles (in a 13-year career) and Yogi Berra has 10 World Series rings. We’re not looking at sports like soccer and car racing here because soccer has a number of major trophies (league titles, Champions League titles, World Cups) and auto racing is a bit dissimilar.
Serena is in a league all her own and though her path to the 2015 French Open title was uneven (she was taken to three sets in five of her seven matches), it’s safe to say the summer of 2015 can already be labeled #SerenaStrong.