40 incredible stats as Serena Williams turns 40 – updated after retirement announcement
As Serena Williams turned 40 years old, we celebrated the incredible career of a tennis legend by looking back at some of her greatest accomplishments
September 26, 2021 marked the 40th birthday of one of the greatest tennis legends in the sport’s history — Serena Williams. The American had been sidelined by injury since her withdrawal from her first-round match at Wimbledon — putting a stop to her chase of Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
She resumed that quest in 2022 – but revealed in August that she would be retiring from tennis imminently to focus on expanding her family.
Let’s take a look at some incredible stats that make her one of, if not the, Greatest of All Time.
1 – The 319 weeks Serena Williams has been ranked world No 1
The American has spent a total of 319 weeks at No 1 – the third most in WTA history (behind Steffi Graf’s 377 weeks and Martina Navratilova’s 332 weeks). Serena has also spent 186 weeks in a row at No 1 – a tie for most consecutive weeks at No 1 in WTA history with Graf. See her ranking history on the WTA website.
2- Number of mixed doubles Grand Slam titles Serena has won
With all the hype about Serena’s chase for Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slams, one oft-forgotten stat is that Serena has also won two mixed doubles Grand Slams. Early on in her career, she won the 1998 US Open and Wimbledon mixed doubles titles with Belarus’ Max Mirnyi.
3 – Number of Grand Slam titles she has won after saving match points
Serena Williams is the only player to have won three Grand Slam singles titles after saving match points. She did this at the 2003 Australian Open (match point saved against Kim Clijsters in the semi-finals), 2005 Australian Open (match point saved against Maria Sharapova in the semis), and 2009 Wimbledon (match point saved against Elena Dementieva, also in the semis).
4 – Number of Olympic gold medals that Serena Williams has won
Serena Williams and her sister Venus are the only tennis players in history with four Olympic gold medals. The sisters are also the only female tennis players in the Open Era to win the Olympic Gold in both singles and doubles.
Serena claimed the singles gold at the 2012 London Games, and the doubles gold with sister Venus at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Games.
5- Number of season-ending WTA Finals won
Serena, who has often played a light schedule in the post-US Open swing for most of her career, has won the season-ending WTA Finals in singles on five occasions (tied for second place with Graf, behind Martina Navratilova’s eight titles at the season-finale).
Serena’s titles came in the 2001, 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014 editions. She also finished runner-up on two occasions – 2002 and 2004 – and only failed to make it past the round-robin on two other occasions where she did play the tournament.
6 – Number of US Open singles titles Serena Williams has won
Williams has won the US Open singles title on six occasions (1999, 2002, 2008, 2012, 2013, 2014). Along with Chris Evert, that’s the most US Open titles won by a female player in the Open Era.
7 – Number of Australian Open singles titles won
Serena Williams’ seven Australian Open singles titles make her the most successful female player Down Under in the Open era. She won the title in 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2015 and 2017.
8 – Most Miami Open titles
Serena Williams has won the Miami Open – one of the biggest events outside of the four Slams and the season-ending WTA Finals, a record eight times – that is the most by any player, male or female, at the event.
9 – Number of indoor titles Serena Williams has won
Serena has won nine indoor singles titles in her career. Besides the WTA Finals, she has also won indoor titles in Paris, Munich, Essen and Leipzig.
10 – Number of majors Serena Williams has won since turning 30
No other player has won as many in the history of the sport in their fourth decade. In fact, no other female player has won more than three Grand Slam singles titles after turning 30.
11 – Number of Wimbledon finals Serena Williams has reached
Serena Williams has reached 11 Wimbledon singles finals in her career – the only female player with more in the Open era is Martina Navratilova who reached 12 singles finals at The All England Club.
12 – Most prize money won by a player in a WTA Tour calendar year
Serena’s incredible 2013 season saw her take home prize money of $12,385,572. It remains the highest amount earned in a single season by a player in WTA history. Ash Barty came closest to breaking it when she won $11.3 million in 2019.
13 – Number of hardcourt Grand Slam singles titles
Serena Williams has won 13 Grand Slam singles titles on hardcourt – a record in the history of the sport. She has won seven Australian Open titles and six US Open titles.
14 – Number of Grand Slam women’s doubles titles won
Serena Williams and sister Venus have partnered to win 14 Grand Slam doubles titles (14-0 in Grand Slam finals). The pair rank tied second on the all-time list of Grand Slam winners as a women’s team in the Open era along with Natasha Zvereva and Gigi Fernandez (14), and behind the legendary duo of Martina Navratilova and Pam Shriver (20).
15 – Number of years between first and most recent US Open titles
Serena Williams’ 15-year gap between her 1999 US Open wins and the 2014 US Open title is the longest span between first and last US Open titles. She also owns similar records at the majors, which is a testament to her longevity.
- Longest span between first (2003) and last (2017) Australian Open titles: 14 years (tied with Nancye Wynne Bolton)
- Longest span between first (2002) and last (2015) Roland-Garros titles: 13 years
- Longest span between first (2002) and last (2016) Wimbledon titles: 14 years
16 – Number of times the Williams sisters have met in Grand Slams
The Williams’ sisters 16 matches at Grand Slams is the second most in women’s tennis, behind Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert’s 22 encounters at the majors.
17 – Age at which Serena Williams won her first Grand Slam singles title
Serena was only 17 years old when she won the US Open in 1999, which made her only the second African-American woman to win a Grand Slam title, after Althea Gibson.
18 – Number of seasons between her first and most recent majors
Serena went 18 seasons between her first Grand Slam title (the US Open in 1999) and her most recent one (the Australian Open in 2017). Three women previously held the record with a 12-year gap – Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.
19 – Age at which Serena Williams completed a career Grand Slam in doubles
By winning the Australian Open doubles in 2001 at the age of 19, the Williams sisters became only the fifth doubles team in history to win all four Grand Slam women’s doubles titles during their career, and also completed the “Career Grand Slam”.
20 – Number of wins over rival Maria Sharapova
The rivalry between Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova might have been intense due to their different backgrounds and popular fan bases, besides the media hype. However, on court, it was Williams who dominated the rivalry, winning 20 of their 22 clashes, including their last 19 matches in a row.
21 – The age at which she won her first “Serena Slam”
Serena Williams was 21 years old when she won the 2003 Australian Open to complete the “Serena Slam”. The American had already won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in 2002 and in the process became only the fifth woman to hold all Grand Slam singles titles simultaneously.
22 – Tying the Open era record of most Grand Slam titles won
While Margaret Court’s record of 24 Grand Slam titles span the pre and post Open era in tennis, prior to Serena, the Open era record was held by Germany’s Steffi Graf. Williams tied the record by winning Wimbledon in 2016, beating Graf’s countrywoman Angelique Kerber in the final.
23 – Number of Grand Slam singles titles Serena Williams has won
Serena’s 23 Grand Slam singles titles are the most by any tennis player in the Open era. The American is chasing the all-time record of Margaret Court’s 24 Slams.
24 – Highest number of aces Serena Williams has hit in a match
Known to be one of the best servers in the women’s game, Serena Williams’ personal-best is 24 aces which she hit during her 2012 Wimbledon semi-final win over Victoria Azarenka. She also hit 23 aces in the third round of that same event against China’s Jie Zheng.
25 – Number of events in which she has finished runner-up
Serena Williams has won 73 singles titles in her career so far. She has also finished runner-up in 25 other events, including 10 Grand Slams.
26 – Serena Williams’ longest winning streak at a Grand Slam
Serena’s longest winning streak at a single Grand Slam has been the 26 in a row she won at the US Open between 2012 to 2015. The American won the title at Flushing Meadows in 2012, 2013, and 2014 and her streak came to an end when Roberta Vinci defeated her in the 2015 semi-finals.
27 – 27-match winning streak in 2015
Serena Williams went through a 27-match winning streak starting at the end of 2014 right up to the Madrid event in May 2015. That included titles at the WTA Finals, Australian Open and Miami. That streak was ended by Petra Kvitova in the Madrid semi-final.
28 – Serena’s ranking in Forbes’ list of highest earning athletes in 2021
In 2021, Serena Williams earned $41.5 million in on-court and off-court earnings, putting her in 28th position on Forbes’ list of highest earning athletes in the world. Among tennis players, only Roger Federer and Naomi Osaka earned more than Serena in the 2021 list.
Earlier, Williams had been the highest earning female athlete in the world for four years in a row – 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
29 – Age at which Serena Williams faced a serious health condition
In early March 2011, at the age of 29, Serena revealed that she had suffered a haematoma and a pulmonary embolism.
“I was on my death bed at one point – quite literally. I’ve had a serious illness but at first I didn’t appreciate that,” she said in an interview published by The Guardian later that year.
30 – Number of matches won at the season-ending WTA Finals
Serena stands in fourth place in this stat. Her 30 wins are behind Steffi Graf’s 31 victories, Chris Evert’s 34 and Martina Navratilova’s 60.
31 – Number of times the Williams sisters have met on the tour
Venus and Serena have met 31 times on the WTA Tour over their incredible careers. Serena leads their rivalry 19-12, including 10 of their last 12 matches.
32 – Age at which she became world No 1 again in 2013
In February 2013, Serena Williams returned to the top of the rankings at the age of 32, having been away from the top spot for more than three years.
33 – Number of Grand Slam finals she has reached
Serena is placed second on the all time list for most Grand Slam singles finals she has reached with 33. She is one short of tying the all-time record of 34 Grand Salm finals currently held by Chris Evert.
34 – Serena’s longest winning streak
Serena’s longest winning streak came in the year 2013 where she won 34 matches in a row – starting from the Sony Ericsson Open (in Miami) and ended in the fourth round at Wimbledon (losing to Sabine Lisicki). Her streak included titles in Miami, Charleston, the Fed Cup (against Sweden), Madrid, Rome and the French Open.
35 – Oldest woman to become No 1 and win a Grand Slam
When Serena was ranked No. 1 in May 2017, she became the oldest player to be ranked No 1 in the WTA history. She was 35 years, 224 days when she accomplished the feat. Serena is also the oldest women’s player to win a Grand Slam in the Open Era – having won the 2017 Australian Open when she was 35 years and four months old.
36 – Age at which she played her first match as a mother
Serena was 36 years old when she returned to the tour after giving birth to her first child, Olympia. Williams returned at an exhibition in Abu Dhabi, losing to Jelena Ostapenko, in December 2017 and returned to the tour at the Fed Cup event the following February.
37 – Age at which she reached her most recent Grand Slam singles final
When Serena reached the 2019 US Open final (eventually losing to Bianca Andreescu), the American was 37 years and 346 days old – making her the oldest woman to reach a Grand Slam singles final.
38 – Age at which she won her most recent singles title
Serena was 38 years, three months, 17 days old when she won the ASB Classic in Auckland in January 2020. Only Kimiko Date and Billie Jean King have won titles at an older age. However, if Serena wins another title, she will own the record and become the first 40-year-old to win a WTA singles title.
39 – Total number of Grand Slams – singles, doubles and mixed doubles – combined
Serena’s 39 combined Grand Slams (23 singles, 14 women’s doubles, 2 mixed doubles) are the most among active players. It also puts her joint-third (along with Billie Jean King) on the all-time list – behind Margaret Court’s 64 and Martina Navratilova’s 59.
40 – Number of Grand Slam semi-finals reached
On her 40th birthday, Serena Williams was ranked 40th in the world. That’s also the number of Grand Slam semi-finals she has reached in her career.