Serena Williams: The all-conquering Grand Slam tennis queen

With 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name, Serena Williams is the most successful tennis player in the Open era of tennis.

By Utathya Nag
Picture by Getty Images

Serena Williams’ impending retirement from tennis will be the end of an era.

Arguably the greatest female tennis player of all time, Serena Williams is set to ride into the sunset with 23 Grand Slam singles titles to her name - the most by any player in the Open Era.

Only the legendary Margaret Court, with 24 Slams, has won more but 13 of these were from the Amateur Era (pre-1968).

Of Serena Williams’ 23 Grand Slam wins, seven came at the Australian Open, three at the French Open, seven at Wimbledon, and the remaining six at the US Open.

Serena Williams won the most Australian Open titles (seven) in the Open era and is second behind Margaret Court (11 - four in Open era and seven in amateur) in the all-time list for the first Major of the year.

The American tennis player’s six triumphs on home turf are also the joint-most US Open women’s singles titles won in the Open era. Serena Williams’ compatriot Chris Evert also has the same number of titles.

The US legend made her Grand Slam main draw debut at the 1998 Australian Open. Serena Williams, then just 16, upset the sixth-seeded Irina Spirlea of Romania in the opener but was ousted by her elder sister Venus in the second round. The match was the first of the famed William sisters rivalry.

Serena Williams’ Grand Slam titles in singles and records

In 1999, Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam singles title at the US Open after beating Swiss legend Martina Hingis in straight sets in the final. Serena was 17 years and 350 days at the time, which makes her one of the youngest female tennis players to win a Major.

Serena Williams’ first Wimbledon and French Open wins came in 2002. She bagged the Australian Open title for the first time in 2003. Interestingly, her elder sister Venus was her opponent in all three finals.

Hence, by the age of 22, Serena Williams had already won a Career Grand Slam (win all four Grand Slams at least once).

With the women’s singles gold medal at the London 2012 Olympics, the American ace completed her Career Golden Slam (win all four Grand Slams and a gold medal at the Olympics). German legend Steffi Graf is the only other player to have managed the feat in tennis.

At the 2016 Wimbledon Championships, Serena Williams finally equalled Steffi Graf’s record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era after defeating another German, Angelique Kerber, in the final. Kerber had denied Serena the record earlier that year after beating the American in the final of the Australian Open.

Serena Williams took sole custody of the record next year at the Australian Open, memorably defeating her sister Venus in the final. Serena was two months pregnant at the time.

The Australian Open 2017 is, to date, Serena Williams’ last Grand Slam singles title.

After a brief maternity break and giving birth to her daughter Olympia in September 2017, Serena Williams returned to the court in December that year.

Since then, Serena Williams came agonisingly close to catching up to Margaret Court’s record of 24 Slams on multiple occasions but was denied in the finals of Wimbledon 2018 and 2019 and US Open 2018 and 2019.

Serena Williams Grand Slam titles in singles tennis

Serena Williams Grand Slam titles
Number Year Grand Slam Opponent in final
1 1999 US Open Martina Hingis
2 2002 French Open Venus Williams
3 2002 Wimbledon Venus Williams
4 2002 US Open Venus Williams
5 2003 Australian Open Venus Williams
6 2003 Wimbledon Venus Williams
7 2005 Australian Open Lindsay Davenport
8 2007 Australian Open Maria Sharapova
9 2008 US Open Jelena Jankovic
10 2009 Australian Open Dinara Safina
11 2009 Wimbledon Venus Williams
12 2010 Australian Open Justine Henin
13 2010 Wimbledon Vera Zvonareva
14 2012 Wimbledon Agnieszka Radwanska
15 2012 US Open Victoria Azarenka
16 2013 French Open Maria Sharapova
17 2013 US Open Victoria Azarenka
18 2014 US Open Caroline Wozniacki
19 2015 Australian Open Maria Sharapova
20 2015 French Open Lucie Safarova
21 2015 Wimbledon Garbine Muguruza
22 2016 Wimbledon Angelique Kerber
23 2017 Australian Open Venus Williams

Serena Williams Grand Slam titles in doubles

While Serena Williams is better known for her singles exploits, the American was no slouch in doubles either and boasts an impressive tally of 14 women’s doubles and two mixed doubles titles.

Serena Williams boasts a Career Grand Slam in women’s doubles too, having won the Australian Open four times, the French Open twice, the Wimbledon six times and the US Open twice. All of her titles came with Venus Williams as partner.

Though her mixed doubles career was very limited, Serena Williams won two mixed doubles titles in 1998 - the Wimbledon and US Open.

In fact, Serena Williams’ first-ever Grand Slam title was the Wimbledon 1998 mixed doubles crown. She partnered with Belarusian Max Mirnyi to defeat India’s Mahesh Bhupathi and Croatia’s Mirjana Lucic 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

Serena Williams Grand Slam titles in women’s doubles tennis

Number Year Grand Slam Partner
1 1999 French Open Venus Williams
2 1999 US Open Venus Williams
3 2000 Wimbledon Venus Williams
4 2001 Australian Open Venus Williams
5 2002 Wimbledon Venus Williams
6 2003 Australian Open Venus Williams
7 2008 Wimbledon Venus Williams
8 2009 Australian Open Venus Williams
9 2009 Wimbledon Venus Williams
10 2009 US Open Venus Williams
11 2010 Australian Open Venus Williams
12 2010 French Open Venus Williams
13 2012 Wimbledon Venus Williams
14 2016 Wimbledon Venus Williams

Serena Williams Grand Slam titles in mixed doubles tennis

Number Year Grand Slam Partner
1 1998 Wimbledon Max Mirnyi
2 1998 US Open Max Mirnyi

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