Roger Federer & Serena Williams. They are each possibly the best players of all time. Their numbers speak for themselves. Roger Federer has 17 slam titles, 3 more than his closest competitors Sampras and Nadal who both have 14. Federer holds many records but his two most impressive achievements are the following; 1) he was the number 1 player in the world for a record 302 weeks (5.8 years)! and 2) to top it off he spent 237(4.5 years) consecutive weeks as World Number 1! It has been widely acknowledged by both players and commentators that getting to number 1 is an amazing feat as it is but holding onto the top spot is even more difficult. Roger being able to maintain the number one spot for that long is truly impressive. Hats off to Roger Federer.
Next up is Serena Williams. Williams has 22 slam titles, tied with Steffi Graf, and 2 behind the all-time leader Margaret Court who has 24. Despite being neck and neck as far as slam titles with these amazing players, Serena has shown more longevity than either Graf or Court. Graf was 29(9 days short of her 30th birthday) when she won her final slam title at The French Open in 1999. Court was 31 when she won her last slam at the US Open in 1973. With Serena’s Wimbledon win in 2016 she became the oldest female grand slam winner in history, again! Amazingly, she has held and broken her own record 5 times since first becoming the oldest female slam winner in Sept 2013! Not only that, she holds the record for both men and women for the most grand slams won after the age of 30. 9 grand slams! With all these incredible stats out of the way let’s discuss where they left off last season and what to expect from them in 2017.
During his 5 set loss against Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, Roger irritated his recently operated left knee. He sat out the remainder of 2016 to rest, fully rehab his knee and come back strong. He made his competitive return earlier this week at the Hopman Cup in Perth, Australia. The Hopman cup is a two person team competition in which competitors represent their home country. Roger teamed up with fellow Swiss Belinda Bencic. They both played well but fell short in the deciding mixed doubles match against France in the semi-finals.
As for Roger’s single play it was quite good. He played 3 matches. He outclassed both the Brit Daniel Evans and French man Richard Gasquet and beat them in straight sets. However, he lost to an inform Alexander Zverev(watch out for this guy! He is 6”6’, already has massive strokes off both sides, seemingly gets to every ball, and already has powerful serve. Just wait until he fills out his frame.) in 3 tiebreak sets. In the end, Zverev was too steady and Roger was a little erratic like he tends to be when he tightens up a little. Hopefully, his good form continues and his nerves will steady the more matches he gets under his belt at the Australian Open.
At the 2016 US Open Serena lost in the semi-finals to an inform Karolina Pliskova. The Czech out served Williams who seemed a bit hampered with her movement, her serve, and her attitude. Serena fought, but it was not the usual fight we tend to see from a usually ferocious Serena Williams. Her game just didn’t seem all there.
After the match her coach revealed that Serena was suffering from both a knee and a shoulder issue that had been plaguing Williams since the end of Wimbledon. As she did at the end of 2015, she sat out the last few months of 2016 to rest, and recharge both mentally and physically.
At the ASB Classic in New Zealand Serena returned to match play with a rusty showing against Pauline Parmentier but still pulled off a mildly comfortable 6-3, 6-4 victory.. In the next round Serena wasn’t able to adjust to the windy conditions and lost 6-4 6-7 (3-7) 6-4 in a messy match which Williams called “unprofessional.” Both her groundstrokes and serve were off. She made 88 unforced errors which Williams claims may be a record for her. Not to worry Williams fans, in the past Serena has played subpar tennis leading up to grand slams but somehow she gets herself together enough to hold up the trophy at the end of the fortnight.
Whatever happens at the Australian Open over these next two weeks we will be seeing two all-time greats in action. If their bodies hold up we should expect to see some great tennis from both of them.