HTLS 2020: Watching Serena Williams through such a long career has been amazing, says Steffi Graf
Tennis legend Steffi Graf on Thursday opened up on the long-time debate over who is the best ever in women’s tennis between her and 23-time Grand Slam winner Serena Williams. Graf, during her historic career, won 22 Grand Slam titles, the most by any player at the time in the Open era , a record which was broken by Serena when she won the Australian Open in 2017.
On being asked about the debate during the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit 2020 by sports journalist Ayaz Memon, Graf said that she is just happy to be recognised for her achievements.
“I am just happy that I am in that equation. Serena’s accomplishments have been incredible,” Graf said.
“Watching her through such a long career - it’s amazing. I felt I was ready at 29-30 to retire but seeing her mental toughness and how she is so determined and pushing out there and so eager - that is mesmerising to me.
“In terms of greatest of all, I am so content and happy with the career that I had that it’s not important honestly for me. To be recognised for the career that I had, I cherish it. But life is so far away from tennis at this point that I don’t lose any sleep about something like that,” she added.
On being asked about the current state of women’s tennis and why the Grand Slam winner keep changing frequently, Graf said that the new talent that has come up has energised the sport.
“On the women’s side, there has been a new crop of young, very energised players. You look at Ashleigh Barty who came a little later to the sport, but is an incredible talent. You see the last tournament, a young Polish player coming through, Swiatek,” she said.
“They all have a very complete game already but still have a lot of energy. We have quite a few of these young girls around who have energised women’s tennis in the last 3-4 years.
“Serena Williams has been a flag bearer for long, but you have Osaka, Andreescu and all these different players from different countries that have come through and are shining really brightly right now,” she signed off.