“Lot of New Players Have Come Through”: Steffi Graf Sees Change in Guard From Serena Williams to Young Players

Published 12/05/2020, 9:41 AM EST
Serena Williams of the United States in action against Kristie Ahn of the United States in the first round of the Women’s Singles competition on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the French Open Tennis Tournament at Roland Garros on September 28th 2020 in Paris, France. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)


The WTA, for a few years, has been unpredictable and has seen a new crop of young stars coming through. We have Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka, and many more and are seeing more Grand Slam champions. Tennis legend, Steffi Graf is very much aware of this change in women’s tennis and sees a certain shift from ‘flag-bearer’ Serena Williams.

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Serena Williams during her French Open 2020 first round. REUTERS

Steffi Graff on Ash Barty and Serena Williams

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In a recent interview, Graf acknowledged the rise of these young players and the change they are bringing. She also praised WTA World No.1 Ash Barty for her talent.

“There has been a new crop of players. Ashleigh Barty is someone who is an incredible talent but she came in late to the sport. They all have a complete game already but still have a lot of energy.”

Further, the German stalwart indicated that Serena Williams has been the flag bearer of WTA for so many years, and now there might be a change of power with the new players coming in.

“Quite a few of these girls have energised the women’s game. Serena has been the flag bearer but a lot of new players have come through.”

Naomi Osaka of Japan cries after winning the US Open 2018 against Serena Williams. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

This young surge of players has seen them excelling at the Grand Slams. Interestingly, the last player over the age of 30 to a Grand Slam was Serena Williams back in the 2017 Australian Open. Since 2017, ten Grand Slam titles have been won by players aged less than 25. This same period has also seen 12 different Grand Slam champions out of the 15 Grand Slam events.

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Serena Williams has seen a decline in her performances since returning from her pregnancy break in 2017. Although there have been Grand Slam finals her way, she has failed to cross the final hurdle. Incidentally, her last major victory at the 2017 Australian Open helped her clear Steffi Graf’s Grand Slam record of 22.

Bianca Andreescu reacts as she won the 2019 US Open against Serena Williams.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

With 23 Grand Slam titles, Serena has the most number of slams in the Open Era. But it looks like she won’t be able to stretch her record as young players like Naomi Osaka, Bianca Andreescu etc have defeated her comfortably on the big stage.

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Bhavishya Mittal

1226 articles

Bhavishya Mittal is a tennis author for EssentiallySports, who is currently pursuing his Bachelor's degree in Journalism from Manipal University. A former sports editor for The Manipal Journal, Bhavishya has also worked for The New Indian Express. He has a keen eye for many sports but he is a particularly ardent follower of tennis, with a zest to create riveting articles on the ever-evolving sport.

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