Unarguably one of the greatest ever to swing a racquet, Serena Williams has transcended the game of tennis; elevated it from just a sport to an incredible form of art with the grace and finesse she’s displayed on court for over two decades.
Amongst her many triumphs, her Grand Slam titles and other numerous titles on tour, her performance at the Australian Open is worthy of note.
As the 2018 season closes in, and with Serena’s mind set on defending her Australian Open title, we take a look at how she took Melbourne Park by storm and recorded immense success Down Under.
In 2003, after five attempts, a 22-year-old Serena Williams would go on to win her first Australian Open title as she beat her sister, Venus in a gripping final, kick-starting an era of dominance that will see her become the tournament’s most successful female player in the Open Era.
A knee injury, though, would thwart her goal of defending her title the following year, but the American bounced back in 2005; beating the pains of a serious stomach injury and the random murder of her sister, Yetunde Price to reign again.
In 2007, the American shrugged off the agony of a third round defeat the previous year by pulling together strings of absolutely ferocious performances to reach the final, before posting one of the most impressive victories in a Grand Slam final as she dismantled Russia’s Maria Sharapova 6-1, 6-2 in just 63 minutes to complete an astoundingly quick trip back to dominance.
Williams went on to achieve further success at Melbourne Park two years later. And would for the first time, successfully defend her title as she beat Belgium’s Justine Henin to lift her fifth title in 2010.
In 2015, after having endured a five-year title-winning hiatus down under, nothing and no one was going to stop Williams’ untrammelled progress towards further glory as she beat Maria Sharapova again to win her sixth Australian Open title.
Two years later, and roughly eight-weeks pregnant, Serena Williams, without dropping a single set, won the Australian Open for an Open Era record seventh time, defeating sister Venus Williams. It was her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, surpassing Germany’s Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22.
The 36-year-old has been absent from the game ever since; taking out time to give birth and cater for her child. But she’s now returned.
And with the 2018 Australian Open less than three weeks away, only one thing is certain — another mesmerizing show of the genius of the greatest woman ever to grace a tennis court.