At 31 years old, Serena Williams finished arguably her best season since 2002 by winning the WTA championship. Can she continue her career resurgence in 2013?
By Melissa Isaacson
To bet against Serena Williams accomplishing anything on the tennis court would be foolish considering she won the U.S. Open title last month about a year and a half after nearly dying from a pulmonary embolism.
Her age does not appear to be a deterrent, either, considering the dominance she has displayed since her first Open title at age 17.
Simply, Williams is one of those athletic freaks who can rise to a world-class level, then one level above just when you think she's through. She seems to like it that way, although she does want us all to know her training is probably the most strenuous of anyone on tour.
If that's not enough, Williams also has that special quality all champions possess, and that's the seemingly never-ending desire to prove doubters wrong. Three major titles short of Chris Evert's and Martina Navratilova's record, that's not bad motivation, either.
By Michelle Smith
Serena Williams' ability to dominate women's tennis doesn't seem to be based on age. She pulled out her best season since 2002 because she was healthy and motivated. Those attributes have rarely been in tandem in her career the way they were in 2012.
So, should Williams stay healthy and motivated to be the best player in the world in 2013, it doesn't seem as if being 31 is going to stand in the way. There will be a point when Williams' age is going to matter, but she's not there yet. As long as she wants to train hard and play dominating tennis, she still has the ability to make it happen.
By Sarah Spain
Serena Williams put together back-to-back solid seasons in 2009 and 2010, winning the Australian Open and Wimbledon each year. There's no reason to believe she would have slowed down were it not for the foot surgery and other health issues that plagued her for the end of 2010 and much of 2011. Healthy again in 2012, she was dominant, grabbing gold in London and wins in the U.S. Open and Wimbledon. If Serena can avoid injury and illness, she could very well stay on top in 2013.
By Amanda Rykoff
Serena Williams is an unstoppable force on the women's tour. There is no reason to believe this won't continue into 2013 and beyond. When Serena is on the top of her game, she is the best there is. As long as she can stay healthy and avoid mental lapses, she can win as many more singles titles as she wants. She seems to have put her health issues behind her and has improved her mental game. Her 2012 was a tour de force.
There are other strong players on the women's tour, of course, but Serena's remarkable serve and spectacular groundstrokes set her apart. When she's right, there is no stopping her. I predict Serena will win at least two more Grand Slam titles in 2013.
By Adena Andrews
The only person who is undefeated in all sports is Father Time. Serena Williams might be the best player of her generation, but she's no match for him. No player is a formidable opponent for him. Although older tennis players recently have experienced somewhat of a renaissance, it won't last forever.
"It'll level off somewhere," Navratilova told The New York Times. "I don't think you'll see people win Slams at 35, but 30 is not the cutoff point that it used to be."
Some say the body is like a fine wine, getting better with age. However, I think retired players whose achy knees talk to them every morning will tell you it's more like a luxury car with too many miles on it. Sometimes you just have to leave it in the garage or, in an athlete's case, hang it up. I'm not saying Williams should retire, but the thought should be in the back of her mind.
By Mechelle Voepel
Age 32 has almost always signaled the end of tennis players' ability to win Grand Slam tournaments. They can keep competing -- even quite valiantly -- but they stop winning the big four events.
This has been true for the vast majority of greats on the men's and women's sides: Their last Grand Slam title came at age 31 or younger.
Can Serena slow down the clock that works against all tennis players as they hit their 30s? Perhaps, in part because she has voluntarily (other interests) and involuntarily (illness, injury) taken breaks from the game.
It also helps that she is one of the most athletically gifted players in women's tennis history. Plus, no younger players have developed to truly rattle her confidence and challenge her consistently in Grand Slam events. Serena still has good reason to believe that, when she's healthy, she can beat anybody on the women's tour.