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Serena Williams: The Greatest Ever?

Serena Williams, at 31, is the best player on the WTA tour by far. Her biggest “rivals” at the moment, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have a combined 3-25 record against her. It has become conventional wisdom that she is the best woman to ever pick up a fuzzy yellow ball. Serena Williams is playing…

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Serena Williams, at 31, is the best player on the WTA tour by far. Her biggest “rivals” at the moment, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, have a combined 3-25 record against her. It has become conventional wisdom that she is the best woman to ever pick up a fuzzy yellow ball.

Serena Williams is playing arguably the most dominant tennis of her career, winning her fifth U.S. Open championship and the 17th major title of her career.

She moved within one of the legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova, who won 18 apiece, tying her for fourth all-time among women. Margaret Court is the all-time leader with 24 majors.

Despite winning the most major titles of any man, there seems to be a healthy debate about whether Federer is the greatest male player of all time.  He has a losing record against chief rival Rafael Nadal, but the chorus is increasingly singing Serena’s praises as the greatest WTA woman of all time.

“First of all, I think she’s the greatest tennis player that we’ve ever seen up until this point,” Evert said after her 17th Grand Slam win in the U.S. Open finals. “Maybe 20 years from now somebody else will come out but she’s the greatest tennis player.”

Evert went on to add: “As far as the greatest record, she doesn’t have the greatest record. Margaret Court has the greatest record. Steffi Graf (22 Grand Slams) has a better record, and Serena’s the first to admit that.

“I think still right now, I go by numbers,” Williams said. “I don’t think I’m the greatest because Steffi has way more Grand Slams than me. I just go by what’s written down.”

Despite what the numbers say, Serena’s dominant serve and punishing ground strokes are unlike anything women’s tennis has seen before and she is playing at perhaps the peak level of her career right now.

She has won four of the last six Grand Slams — including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2012 (as well as taking the gold medal at the 2012 Olympics).

“Nobody has had a game like hers,” Evert said. “Nobody has had the power, the shots, the serve and the complete package that she has, so she’s the best tennis player.”

Williams credits some of her current dominance to her coach — and reported boyfriend — Patrick Mouratoglou.

“One of the main reasons I was able to work with Patrick is because he was telling me a lot of the same things that my father told me,” Williams said of her father and former coach, Richard Williams. “I think that had he told me something opposite or something different, or he wasn’t just doing almost similar stuff, I wouldn’t be able to work with that because I just wouldn’t accept it.”

At 31 and playing at this level, there is no reason Serena cannot continue to assert her dominance for two or three more years and ultimately challenge Graf and Court on the all-time list.

“If she plays for another three years, if she wins one or two [majors per year] she could very well pass Steffi,” Evert said. “The key to her game is staying healthy, being fit, and just staying interested and inspired.

Serena has always had trouble maintaining interest in playing tennis. She has periodically drifted away from the tour to pursue business, publishing, reality-TV and other interests.

She has proved once again that when she’s firing on all cylinders, no one can beat her.

“This is peak Serena.” said Billie Jean King, who won 12 majors in the Open Era and for whom the USTA National Tennis Center is named, added a similar sentiment in a recent TV interview.

“If Serena keeps going, she’s probably going to be the greatest player ever to have lived,” King said. “But right at this moment I’m a big believer that every generation gets better so Serena, should be, could be, the best that’s ever lived.”

cedric@prestigemagazine.net

 

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Boxer Gervonta Davis Involved in Minor Plane Crash, Documents Aftermath

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Gervonta Davis just, miraculously, walked away from a plane crash relatively unscathed — and it sounds like what’s hurting him the most in the aftermath are his feet … and his caboose.

The professional boxer went live Saturday to document a terrifying encounter he says he and his crew had just gone through after boarding a private jet … which apparently failed to properly take off and crash landed back down to the airport grounds it was trying to leave.

Thankfully, it doesn’t appear the aircraft got very far up before coming back down to Earth — because Gervonta and other passengers seemed more or less okay … with their health and bodies intact.

That’s not to say Gervonta wasn’t feeling some hurt afterwards — on his live feed, he noted that his booty was aching like no other … this while he wrapped his feet in gauze. He’s pretty jovial about the whole thing, which is great to see, but this could’ve easily been way worse.

Gervonta also was able to get some shots of the downed plane, and it sure looks like something went wrong internally. There were also fire engines that showed up on the scene to evaluate the damage and tend to anyone’s injuries. Again, though, most everyone seems to be fine … which is absolutely incredible, because it appears there were even children aboard, based on a photo Gervonta posted shortly before getting on his flight. His video doesn’t capture any kids, though.

It’s unclear what exactly caused the malfunction — but you can hear Gervonta and his friends speculate on what happened … seems like there might’ve been some overheating of some sort. They also appear to be discussing some of the flight maneuvers the pilot(s) were using in the air … and the group seems to think that may have attributed to it going down.

Stay tuned while we here at Prestige try to get a hold of Gervonta’s team for more answers.

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Tennis Player Coco Gauff Tests Positive For COVID-19, Will Not Attend Olympics

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17-year-old tennis player Cori “Coco” Gauff was slated to be on the U.S. tennis team at the upcoming Olympic Games, but has withdrawn after testing positive for COVID-19.

She broke the news via social media.

“I am so disappointed to share the news that I have tested positive for COVID and won’t be able to play in the Olympic Games in Tokyo,” she wrote in a note. “It has always been a dream of mine to represent the USA at the Olympics, and I hope there will be many more chances for me to make this come true in the future.” At #25, Gauff is the youngest player with a Women’s Tennis Association ranking in the top 100 .

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At 15, Gauff shocked the sports world when she beat tennis icon Venus Williams in the opening round of Wimbledon in 2019. She then bested Williams again during her Australian Open debut in January 2020 and defeated Naomi Osaka at the same event.

Gauff finished her statement by wishing all of her fellow athletes well. “I want to wish TEAM USA best of luck and a safe game for every Olympian and the entire Olympic family.”

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Magic’s Jonathan Isaac stands for national anthem as teammates, opponents kneel

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Orlando Magic power forward Jonathan Isaac became the first NBA player to stand during the national anthem following the season restart … deciding against both kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.

The league’s coaches, refs and players — from LeBron James to Zion Williamson — have been using the anthem demonstrations to raise awareness as games pick back up in Orlando … a gesture that is being supported by NBA commish Adam Silver.

Isaac became the first player to choose to stand as the anthem was played before the Magic’s match-up with the Brooklyn Nets on Friday … while the rest of the team’s players and staffers took a knee.

It’s worth noting — Silver says everyone will have the option to kneel during the anthem without consequence … despite a league rule requiring players to stand.

The same goes for anyone who wishes to stand — no one is saying the players HAVE to kneel, either.

So far, Jonathan hasn’t commented on his decision to stand publicly — because the game is currently being played. But, when he does, we’ll update here.

Charles Barkley spoke about the demonstrations on Thursday during TNT’s “Inside The NBA,” saying, “The national anthem means different things to different people.”

“I’m glad these guys are unified. If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”

The Magic released a statement in support of the demonstration, saying, “The DeVos Family and the Orlando Magic organization fully supports Magic players who have chosen to leverage their professional platform to send a peaceful and powerful message condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police, especially against people of color.”

“We are proud of the positive impact our players have made and join with them in the belief that sports can bring people together — bridging divides and promoting inclusion, equality, diversity and unity.”

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