Before the Wimbledon final against Angelique Kerber, Serena Williams was asked by a reporter about being considered “one of the greatest female athletes of all time."
Her reply? “I prefer the words ‘one of the greatest athletes of all time'."
And a day later, she put on a near-flawless display at the center court of Wimbledon to win her record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title. You'd have be insane to not agree with her claim. She is, truly, one of the greatest athletes we have seen in our time.
Shrugging off the weight of history on her shoulders, Serena defeated German fourth seed Kerber 7-5, 6-3 to secure a seventh Wimbledon title and the long-awaited share of Graf's landmark.
Serena is the GOAT. She isn't just the greatest female athlete of all time. She is one of the greatest athletes EVER. Period.— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) July 9, 2016
The true mark of a stupendous performance was the fact that her opponent in the final could not have played any better. Kerber was at absolute best for the best part of the 80-odd minutes the match lasted. As she conceded after the match, there was nothing Kerber could have done to stop Serena in that form.
The reaction to her win was one of near-universal acclaim. Not often would you find the Twitterverse to be in agreement.
Here is how tennis players, present and former, reacted, starting with the proud runner-up on the night, Angelique Kerber:
And the legend Steffi Graf herself!
Congrats, @serenawilliams. YOU did it! Enjoy this moment. Pressure is a privilege.July 9, 2016
Congratulations to the best ever! Serena Williams ! Amazing achievement 💪🏻🎾— Kim Clijsters (@Clijsterskim) July 9, 2016
The fans, of course, were delighted, starting with Ellen Degeneres who was at the stands cheering her:
Way to go @serenawilliams - you are a true champion. Proud of you!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2016
#Serena 🙏🏾 I bow down. And am simultaneously uplifted.— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) July 9, 2016
Man I'm crying. @serenawilliams just put a small bandaid on my heart! Thank you!!!! Thank you my beautiful friend!— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) July 9, 2016
If Serena Williams had a Bollywood story.
She'd have sacrificed 22 grand slams because she got pregnant.Salman would have won instead.— Sorabh Pant (@hankypanty) July 9, 2016
Serena Williams may very well be the greatest athlete of our time.— Shaun King (@ShaunKing) July 9, 2016
I am still sitting here stunned! Trying to wrap my head around Serena's absolutely stunning career. Blessed to have watched it all.— Nikhila (@kokudum) July 9, 2016
Serena Williams was 17 when she defeated Steffi Graf.
17 years later, she's tied her record of 22 Grand Slam wins. pic.twitter.com/s1Plx1rAih— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) July 9, 2016
Undoubtedly, the greatest of our time and perhaps, of all time!
With AFP inputs