Serena Williams (210448)
Credit: Margot Jordan

Serena Williams didn’t need to win her seventh Wimbledon singles title and 22nd individual major tournament to confirm that she is the greatest women’s tennis player of all time. Although the topic is debatable, a thorough analytical examination as well as empirical observation should conclude that she is without equal in the annals of the sport.

Williams’ 7-5 6-3 victory over Angelique Kerber in England this past Saturday in an entertainingly competitive Wimbledon final tied her with Steffi Graf for the most women’s Grand Slam singles titles in the open era, which began in 1968.

Australian Margaret Court holds the combined pre-and post-open era record with 24.

Remarkably, later that afternoon she also celebrated with her big sister Venus as the unparalleled duo captured their sixth Wimbledon doubles title and 14th Grand Slam doubles championship by defeating Timea Babos and Yaroslava Shvedova 6-3 6-4. “Two sisters once again on another planet,” tweeted Wimbledon. While the Williams sisters are seemingly otherworldly, here on Earth, with professional careers that have spanned three decades, they have shattered stereotypes and established a new paradigm for women of color both on and off the tennis court.

In particular, Serena, who will turn 35 September 26—she’s 15 months younger than Venus—has delivered blow after blow to the gut of ageism, gender bias and the premise of racial inferiority. While most tennis players, and athletes for that matter, are retired or in steep decline by 34, she continues to be the best in the world and shows no signs of falling from her lofty perch.

Williams winning the most Grand Slams after the age of 30 further supports the argument that she is the greatest women’s player the game has seen. With nine and counting, she will almost assuredly reach 10. No other woman has won more than three after 30. Graf, for all of her brilliance, retired at 30 ranked No. 3 in the world. Williams is currently ranked No. 1.

Overall, Williams has won 71 singles titles, 23 doubles championships and has a career record of 768-127, a mind-blowing 86 percent winning percentage. And oh, since playing her first professional match in 1995, she has earned $81 million in prize money alone, in addition to tens of millions more in endorsements.

As a result of the average American sports fan being a casual follower of tennis, the magnitude of Williams’ excellence is underappreciated and not fully understood. Like many geniuses, her preeminence won’t be wholly comprehended until she finishes applying her craft.