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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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Sports

Boxer Michael Conlan OK after being knocked out of ring

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The Irish boxer who gestured at 2016 Rio Olympic judges with his middle fingers after losing a controversial decision was reported to be “conscious and stable” and recovering in a hospital after being knocked out of the ring in a WBA featherweight title fight on Saturday.

Michael Conlan was knocked out in the 12th round by English boxer Leigh Wood, who recovered from an early knockdown to retain his title after an often bruising fight at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena.

Topping the bill in his home city, Wood was put on his back by a looping overhand left towards the end of the first round and while he rose on wobbly legs, the 33-year-old Wood was outclassed over the first half of the fight.

In the final round, though, a bruising right hand seemed to buckle Conlan before Wood unloaded with a further flurry to back up his opponent, who tumbled between the ropes and out of the ring.

Conlan was taken by stretcher from the arena. Wood’s promoter Eddie Hearn said on Twitter: “Update on Michael Conlan..conscious and stable, sitting up and talking and await CT scans.”

Later Conlan tweeted that he was OK: “I’m all good folks, cheers for the messages. I’ll be back, good shot and congrats to Leigh and his team.”

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News & Entertainment

NFL Legend Lawrence Taylor Arrested In Florida

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Retired NFL legend Lawrence Taylor was arrested in Florida on Thursday. The Hall of Fame pass-rusher and longtime Giants star is facing two felony charges for failing to alert authorities to a change in address. This comes 10 years after Taylor, 62, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual misconduct and patronizing a prostitute, resulting in him becoming a registered sex offender — which requires informing authorities of new residences.

Taylor was booked around 8:45 p.m. ET, and released later Thursday night from the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. His attorney, Arthur Aidala, told TMZ that the former linebacker “has been compliant with all of the rules and regulations regarding his legal status for the past decade.” Taylor is “in the middle of a divorce,” however, “and his local police department suggested it would be best if he slept at a nearby hotel.”

“Mr. Taylor was constantly a resident of the marital home where he was registered,” Taylor’s attorney continued, “but on advice of local law enforcement, he was sleeping outside the home. We are confident that this will be dismissed at the first court hearing.”

This isn’t the first time Taylor has been in legal trouble since his 2011 charges. The two-time Super Bowl champion pleaded guilty to DUI charges in 2017 after crashing into a parked police car in Florida. During Taylor’s prestigious playing career, in which he won NFL MVP, went to 10 Pro Bowls and redefined modern-day pass-rushing, the longtime Giant also battled off-field issues, serving a suspension for repeated drug use.

Lawrence Taylor
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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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