London 2012: How Serena Williams Ranks Among the All-Time Greats

Martin Baldridge@MARTIN BALDRIDGECorrespondent IIJuly 17, 2012

London 2012: How Serena Williams Ranks Among the All-Time Greats

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    Five-time Wimbledon champion Serena Williams heads to the London Olympics in search of her first individual gold medal.  

    Along with her sister Venus, the pair won doubles golds at both the 2000 Sydney and 2008 Beijing games—but Serena has never made it past the quarterfinals in the singles.

    Serena's Grand Slam cabinet currently holds 14 singles, 13 doubles and two mixed doubles trophies.

    With 29 Grand Slam titles and counting, she is undoubtedly one of the greatest female tennis players of all time—but how does her record compare to that of the other all-time greats?

Chris Evert

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    The "Golden Girl" of the 1980s, Chris Evert, won an incredible seven French Open, six US Open, three Wimbledon and two Australian Open singles titles, along with doubles titles at both Wimbledon and Roland Garros.

    Serena though, holds the edge 29-20 in overall Grand Slam titles.

    Great as Evert was, Serena is greater. 

Steffi Graf

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    Winner of an incredible 22 Grand Slam singles titles, Steffi Graf is considered by many to have been the greatest woman tennis player of all time.

    1988 saw Steffi win the calendar year Grand Slam, and the so-called "Golden Slam" by winning the Olympic gold singles medal at Seoul. 

    Graf though, only managed to win one Grand Slam doubles title in her career and no mixed doubles.

    Great as she is, it's hard at this stage of her career, to put Serena in the same "all-time great" category as Graf.

The Big Sister

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    Her individual Olympic gold medal won at the Sydney 2000 games is just about the only thing Venus Williams currently holds over her younger sister.

    Though still competing, Venus' best days seem to lie in the past, whereas Serena is still more than capable of adding to her tally of singles titles.

    Venus has won 22 Grand Slam titles in total but debilitating illness mean she no longer poses a serious threat in singles.

Martina Navratilova

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    During the Open era, Martina Navratilova's overall record of 59 Grand Slam titles marks her as the greatest woman player of all time.

    It's true that Billie Jean King and Margaret Court's Grand Slam tallies of 39 and 62, respectively, put them in a category beyond that of Graf, Evert, Serena and Venus.

    But Martina's titles were all won in the Open era, whereas King and Court's careers straddled both the amateur and professional games.

    In Grand Slam titles Court stands alone, she won a staggering 24 singles titles compared to Martina's 18.

    But tennis is a different game now than it was in the 1960s.

    So, in talk of the all-time greats, magnificent as Serena is, she still has a way to go to be right up there amongst the absolute greatest.