Serena Williams' Grand Slams
Serena Williams' Grand Slams

By Nick Mulvenney

Serena Williams said it was a 'great feeling' to surpass Steffi Graf as the most prolific grand slam champion of the open era.

The 35-year-old, who won her first major at the U.S. Open in 1999, drew level with Graf's tally of 22 at Wimbledon last year and edged ahead of the German with her 6-4 6-4 victory over her sister Venus on Rod Laver Arena on Saturday.

"It's such a great feeling to have 23. It really feels great," she told reporters.

"I've been chasing it for a really long time. It feels like, really long time. When it got on my radar, I knew I had an opportunity to get there, and I'm here. I'm here.

"It's a great feeling. No better place to do it than Melbourne."

Serena played vintage tennis at Melbourne Park as she chased her seventh Australian Open championship, despite missing the back end of last season with a shoulder injury.

On current form, she would have to be an odds-on favorite to add a few more titles to her remarkable collection this season but the American said there was no great masterplan.

"I never had a number," she said. "That's the beauty of it. When I started this journey, I just wanted to win a grand slam. Then I just wanted to win. Every time I step on the court, I want to win."

"It's just really remarkable.

Australian Margaret Court still holds the all-time record with her haul of 24, the majority of which came before the dawn of the professional era, but Williams said she was in no great hurry to think about an assault on that record.

"One thing I learned in the past is you have to enjoy it," she said. "That's the beauty of winning Australia, you have a few months to relax.

"If you win the French, it's like back-to-back-to-back-to-back. Australia, you have time to enjoy the moment before the next grand slam."

Serena was delighted to learn she will return to world number one in place of Angelique Kerber on Monday, even if her coach Patrick Mouratoglou had kept her in the dark about the possibility.

"That was a bonus. I didn't know actually. It feels good. I like being on top, so I really like that feeling," she said.

"In the beginning of the tournament, I was like, 'If I win, will I be number one?'. (Patrick) said, 'No, no, no'.

"Today on the court when they were like, 'And number one', I was like, 'Whoa, really?'."

For many, Serena long ago settled the discussion over who was the greatest women's tennis player of all time.

Perhaps out of modesty or respect for the great players that have gone before, Serena has rarely discussed the matter but she was prepared to accept she was top three.

"I definitely think so," she said. "I mean, between Martina (Navratilova), myself, Steffi Graf, hands down we are leading that conversation."

Following is a list of Serena Williams' 23 grand slam singles titles after the American surpassed Steffi Graf's professional era record with victory at the Australian Open:

1999

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Martina Hingis (Switzerland) 6-3 7-6

2002

French Open - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams (U.S.) 7-5 6-3

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 7-6 6-3

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 6-4 6-3

2003

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 7-6 3-6 6-4

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 4-6 6-4 6-2

2005

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Lindsay Davenport (U.S.) 2-6 6-3 6-0

2007

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-1 6-2

2008

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Jelena Jankovic (Serbia) 6-4 7-5

2009

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Dinara Safina (Russia) 6-0 6-3

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams 7-6 6-2

2010

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Justine Henin (Belgium) 6-4 3-6 6-2

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Vera Zvonareva (Russia) 6-3 6-2

2012

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland) 6-1 5-7 6-2

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) 6-2 2-6 7-5

2013

French Open - Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-4 6-4

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Victoria Azarenka (Belarus) 7-5 6-7 6-1

2014

U.S. Open - Serena Williams beat Caroline Wozniacki (Denmark) 6-3 6-3

2015

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) 6-3 7-6

French Open - Serena Williams beat Lucie Safarova (Czech Rep) 6-3 6-7 6-2

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Garbine Muguruza (Spain) 6-4 6-4

2016

Wimbledon - Serena Williams beat Angelique Kerber (Germany) 7-5 6-3

2017

Australian Open - Serena Williams beat Venus Williams (U.S) 6-4 6-4

 

Women's All-Time Grand Slam Tennis Championships

Player Country Titles
Source: Reuters
Serena WilliamsUnited States23
Steffi GraffGermany22
Martina NavratilovaUnited States18
Chris EvertUnited States18
Margaret Court *Australia11
Monica SelesU.S9
Billie Jean King **United States8

* Court leads overall with 24 grand slam titles but won 13 of her titles before the professional era

** King won a total of 12 grand slam singles titles, fourof them before the professional era

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Tennis: "Serena Williams' Grand Slams"