Roland Garros has long been a menace for Williams. Coming into the tournament, she only had one French Open title on her mantle. She had also only reached the semifinals twice—when she won in 2002 and then again in 2003.
Williams was also entering the French Open playing some of her best tennis in recent memory and the clear favorite to win.
It was either she would break her Roland Garros duck or her ravenous run of form. Luckily it was the former.
ESPN Stats and Info put the win in context:
Serena Williams won her 16th career grand slam title (most among active players; 6th most all-time).— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 8, 2013
Beating Maria Sharapova 6-4, 6-4 in the final meant Williams had dropped only one set the entire tournament. In total, she lost a paltry 29 games.
Hitting the age of 30 is generally a death sentence for tennis players. They start aging on the court more rapidly and are quickly overtaken by the faster, stronger, younger players.
That seems to be flipped with Serena. It's as if Williams is Benjamin Button and aging in reverse. She's saving some of her most dominant tennis for her 30s. By this rate, she'll win the Grand Slam when she hits about 39.
So not only did she defy the aging process, but Williams put in one of most dominant displays on what is arguably her worst surface. The argument could be made that this is the biggest win of Williams' career.
Quite simply, it's unbelievable how high of a level she is playing at right now.
ESPN's Jemele Hill chalks it up to what is Williams' insatiable desire to be the best:
I rank Serena Williams' competitive will right up there with Michael Jordan's.— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) June 8, 2013
That's the best way to explain how she continues to be the best in the world. She may not always be the most personable tennis player, but what do you expect from the best player in the world?
Michael Jordan isn't always a great person. Neither is Barry Bonds, Lance Armstrong, Jim Brown, Tiger Woods, etc. That's what separates the great players from the legendary players. They do whatever it takes to win, burning bridges in the process.
Williams shouldn't be hassled for that. That's the trade-off that comes with her prodigious talent and work ethic.
Let's not forget where Williams was with her right foot injury that caused her to miss so much time in 2010. There was the very real threat she would never step on to the court again, and if she did, she would be a shadow of her former self.
Instead, Williams took the injury as a challenge, one that could simply be overcome through hard work.
She comes back and wins Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in 2012. There were also the Olympics in which Williams played some of the most dominant tennis anybody has ever seen. The ease with which she beat Maria Sharapova was astounding.
Her loss to Sloane Stephens at the Australian Open was a disappointment. Had Williams been healthy, though, she probably would have had enough to dispatch the 20-year-old.
Now that she is back to full health, nobody can touch her.