Serena Williams: Impressive 2012 Has Tennis Star Back on Top

Matt WestCorrespondent IISeptember 10, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 09:  Serena Williams of the United States poses with the championship trophy next to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus following her victory in the women's singles final match on Day Fourteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 9, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)
Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

Serena Williams has been through a lot in the past few years, but anyone who thought she was done taking down Grand Slam titles and patrolling the upper levels of the world rankings was sorely mistaken.

The younger Williams sister has certainly battled injury and inconsistency problems in her long, storied career. 2011, for instance, was a huge year for her. She only played in six tournaments, but she took a huge step after suffering a hematoma and a pulmonary embolism.

Now, she looks like someone who is primed to go on another run and further separate herself from some of the best female tennis players ever. During the 2012 Olympics Williams looked tremendous, taking down world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka (6-1, 6-2) and then Maria Sharapova (6-0, 6-1) in the final match. (She also won gold in the doubles with sister Venus.)

The U.S. Open was the latest example of Williams asserting her dominance and thrusting her name back into any discussion of the game's best. By defeating Azarenka (no easy feat) in the title match, Williams added her fourth Open title to her impressive trophy case.

The important thing about Williams' latest victory is that she seems reinvigorated. Her tirades at officials during her last two trips the U.S. Open are well documented, but they seem to be a thing of the past. She looks like she's ready to take over the sport—again.

"For whatever reason I still feel motivated, like I should go out tomorrow and go running or something," Williams told AP sports writer Rachel Cohen during a celebratory karaoke session.

Cohen also describes her typical training sessions, which include two hours on the court, two hours in the gym, three dancing and an hour of stretching. A day like that certainly debunks any myths floating around out there that she just coasts to get by.

By the looks of it, Williams is mentally and physically prepared to contend for many more years. She may be 30 years old, but watching her compete in 2012 makes you believe she's ready for more titles.

And judging by her track record, it's hard to believe she won't succeed.