Maria Sharapova Makes Huge Claim on Former Rival Serena Williams in GOAT Race

Published 01/14/2021, 9:00 AM EST
Serena Williams serves during her match against Venus Williams during Top Seed Open – Day 4 at the Top Seed Tennis Club in Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)


Five-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova has made a huge claim on Serena Williams in the race for ‘GOAT’ in women’s tennis.

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Appearing on a podcast, the former Russian tennis star who branched out as a successful entrepreneur after retirement, said that the American, with 23 Grand Slam titles, the second-most across the men’s and women’s fields, will finish alongside the legendary Billie Jean King as the greatest in the women’s tennis.

Serena Williams among the elites in women’s tennis, says Sharapova

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Sharapova said that the fact that Serena already has more than 20 Grand Slam titles to her credit and is competing for more doubtlessly puts her among the elite in the women’s game. 

“I do think Serena will definitely be somewhere on top of that list. Her achievements are incredible, she’s won over 20 Grand Slams, and is still competing for more,” the Russian said.

Sharapova credits Billie Jean King for raising profile of women’s tennis

Speaking about Billy Jean King, Sharapova said that her greatness is etched not just on the basis of her incredible accomplishments in the game but also because of how she helped many other players become leading names in women’s tennis.

The Russian said that she cherishes her personal equations with the tennis great and added, “I really value my relationship with Billie Jean King. I think of her as an example of someone who is so selfless. She helped each and every tennis player become who they are: financially secure and successful.”

She also credited the American stalwart for raising the profile of the women’s game. Elaborating on why she ranks King among the greatest athletes of all time, Sharapova said, “She created a space in which we all compete and make great money. I always think of her in terms of the greatest athletes of all time.”

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While Serena’s place among the game’s greats is guaranteed, the fact that she hasn’t been able to add to her Grand Slam titles for three years now will rankle. She’s been stuck at 23 Grand Slam titles since 2017 when she won her latest at the Australian OpenThe 23rd title helped Serena sail past the one-time rival Steffi Graf’s career Grand Slam tally of 22. 

However, what keeps her going even at 39 is her undying desire to equal the legendary Margaret Court, who still leads the career count across the men’s and women’s fields with 24 Grand Slam titles.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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