Serena Williams' future entirely up to her
With Serena Williams' win at Wimbledon she now has 14 Grand Slam singles titles. What's next for Williams, and how many major wins do you think she has left?
Age could hurt Serena, but she may defy odds
By Mechelle Voepel
Historically, the age of 32 has been the door-slamming year in regard to tennis Grand Slam titles. After players reach that age, major championships become very rare.
Here is a list of greats whose last Grand Slam singles title came when they were 31 or younger: Billie Jean King, Margaret Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Bjorn Borg, Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe, Ivan Lendl, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Pete Sampras.
Martina Navratilova won one Grand Slam singles title after age 31: Wimbledon in 1990, when she was 33. Andre Agassi also did it once: the 2003 Australian Open, when he was 32.
Guess who celebrates their 31st birthdays this year? Wimbledon singles champions Serena Williams (Sept. 26) and Roger Federer (Aug. 8). Both looked extremely good for most of their recent runs at the All England Club. But if the "rule of 32" holds true for them, too, then 2013 could be their last best year to win majors.
Federer already holds the men's record for most Grand Slam titles, with Wimbledon giving him 17.
Williams, meanwhile, now has 14. Court has what seems an unreachable record of 24 (11 of them in the Australian Open), and Graf finished with 22. Helen Wills Moody won 19, and Navratilova and Evert had 18 each.
Can Williams get to 18? It could be tough. She's won the French Open just once, and was knocked out in the first round at Roland Garros this year. It's difficult to see her winning on the Paris clay again.
But she could get her fourth U.S. Open title this year, and the Australian Open (five) and Wimbledon (five) are the majors where she's been the most successful. Williams has had her health issues, but in some ways, those may have extended her career because she's been forced to take breaks.
The other thing is, she doesn't have a consistent challenger: When healthy and motivated, Williams remains the best overall women's player in the world.
Williams always has wanted to do things her way. And if she sets her mind on the goal of reaching 18 Slams, she could do it just before hitting age 32. But that would take winning at least four of the next five. Is that possible?
Williams has won at least two Grand Slam titles in back-to-back years twice: 2002-03 and 2009-10. More realistically, though, hitting 18 will require some Slam success after age 32. If anyone can do it, bet on Serena.
Serena should be a top form for hard-court season
By Jane McManus
When Richard Williams first ushered his daughter Venus into the U.S. Open, curious reporters tried to learn all they could about a girl who hadn't come up through the ranks of junior tennis. Among the credible and incredible things the father declared at that time was one truth: You think Venus is good? You should see her little sister.
It is foolish to underestimate Serena Williams. She is not always on top of her tennis game, but despite injuries and the dating disasters she swore off earlier this year, the younger Williams sister is simply the best woman in the game when she is on. And she was impressive in her most recent Wimbledon championship. Next up is the American hard-court season culminating in the U.S. Open. With any luck, American audiences will get to see the younger sister in top form very soon.
Williams win didn't feel like culmination of her career
By Graham Hays
Next up for Serena Williams is the continued status of favorite in the Olympics, the U.S. Open and every other Grand Slam event she enters until she gets worse or someone else gets better.
The contrast between the two 30-something Wimbledon winners is interesting. Roger Federer is back at No. 1, but there are two players arguably better, or at least equal, in men's tennis at the moment. In this tournament, an early upset cleared out Rafael Nadal, and Federer took care of Novak Djokovic. He's clearly still good enough to beat Nadal or Djokovic in a Grand Slam, but having both of them around significantly cuts down on his chances of adding more major titles. At a similar stage in her career, Williams isn't No. 1 after her Wimbledon win, but she's in a much more favorable situation.
Regardless of the ongoing ups and downs in the race for the top ranking, no player in the conversation is arguably better than Williams. Maria Sharapova, Victoria Azarenka, Petra Kvitova, Agnieszka Radwanska, all of them could beat Williams on a given day, but would you expect any of them to do it even half the time in a Grand Slam setting?
Williams is the favorite to win every major she enters at this point. She won't win all of them, but she will win some of them. Are four more major wins, tying Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, out of the question? Five to pass them? The U.S. Open and two in each of the next two years, at the end of which she'll be 32, seems attainable. As far as motivation, this might have been the culmination of a comeback for Williams, but it didn't feel like the culmination of a career. As has been the case for a long, long time, what's next for Williams is entirely up to her.
Serena is her own worst enemy
By Amanda Rykoff
What Grand Slam title is next for Serena Williams? The U.S. Open women's singles title, of course. I see no reason why she shouldn't win her second straight Grand Slam championship in September.
As I've said many times before, when Serena is on top of her game, she is the best there is. Serena at 30 isn't that different from Serena at 23 -- if she can stay healthy and keep her wits about her on the court, she can win as many more singles titles as she wants. Of course health has been a factor for her over the past two years, but based on her dominating performance at Wimbledon, she seems to have put those issues behind her. The only thing standing between Serena and another four or five Grand Slam titles is Serena herself.
Comeback complete, will Serena's interest wane?
By Sarah Spain
After defeating Agnieszka Radwanska for her fifth Wimbledon title, 30-year-old Serena Williams held her trophy over her head and jumped up and down with the energy and exuberance of a teenager. She didn't give the trophy thoughtful, gentle kisses like Roger Federer did or a playful bite a la Rafael Nadal: She raised it over her head like a shiny, silver pompom and bounced about like a cheerleader after her team won the high school championship.
The celebration was honest, genuine and as much an expression of relief as it was of joy. After a career valley that saw Williams sidelined with foot surgeries and a pulmonary embolism, then derailed by outbursts and mental lapses, this was a somewhat unexpected return to the top.
One has to believe she was motivated in part by a desire to prove her doubters wrong. Now that she's done just that, will she have the focus and drive to continue to win? This woman, arguably the best to ever play the game has, at times, said she doesn't even like tennis. She's admitted she doesn't like working out, doesn't like the everyday grind of staying strong and fit. She's already dabbled a bit in acting and fashion design; when do those other interests finally take her focus away from tennis?
I hope for the sake of the game Williams continues to push herself for another couple years before hanging 'em up. I hope she finds enough motivation to put together a great final run, a few more years of dominance to solidify her place as the best ever.