At the beginning of August, Serena Williams announced her retirement, or rather, her "evolution" as she prefers it to be called.
However, she decided to go out in style – both on and off the court.
After gracing the cover of Vogue’s September 2022 issue in which she shared her news, Serena has now extended two of her world records following victories over Danka Kovinić and Anett Kontaveit at the US Open:
- Most singles tennis matches won at the US Open: 108
- Most tennis Grand Slam singles matches won (female): 367
Serena’s storied career started out on the public courts of Compton, California, and since turning pro at age 14, she has dominated every other court on the world stage for over 25 years.
In addition to her 23 Grand Slam singles titles, Serena holds 25 Guinness World Records titles in total.
Without further ado, here are all the rest.
Serena Williams achieved her 23rd Grand Slam title – and her record for the most Grand Slam singles titles won (open era) – at the 2017 Australian Open, defeating her older sister Venus Williams in the final to move past Steffi Graf’s (Germany) record of 22 titles.
The gap between this victory and her first ever Grand Slam title at the 1999 US Open was 17 years 139 days, which is the longest span of Grand Slam singles titles by a tennis player (open era).
A record Serena still shares with Steffi Graf is the most consecutive weeks as tennis world No.1 (female), achieved after recording an unbroken streak of 186 weeks at the top of the rankings between 18 February 2013 and 5 September 2016.
Serena also has the longest span of tennis Grand Slam singles finals reached, with 19 years 361 days separating her first appearance (and victory) at the 1999 US Open final and her last final at the 2019 US Open, where she lost to Canada’s Bianca Andreescu. Aged 19 years 83 days old at the time, Andreescu was 278 days younger than Serena’s span of Grand Slam finals.
In 2012, Serena achieved something no one ever had before – the first singles and doubles tennis career Golden Grand Slam. Winning the gold medal in the women’s singles at the 2012 Olympic Games meant that Serena became the first tennis player to win all four major tournaments plus the Olympics in both disciplines.
Another 'first' was achieved when she won the 2009 Australian Open, 2010 Wimbledon Championships, 2013 French Open and 2013 US Open. The male champion of each of these tournaments was Rafael Nadal, meaning the pair became the first players to win all four tennis Grand Slams together.
Serena has also helped her sister achieve a world record, although we doubt Venus is very pleased to have it. Venus lost four finals in a row in 2002-03, all at the hands of Serena, which is a record for the most consecutive Grand Slam tennis final losses (singles).
Margaret Court (Australia) holds the overall record for the most Grand Slam tennis titles won, with 64 in total between 1960 -1975, of which 24 were singles titles. However, 13 of them were won before the dawn of the open era.
Serena Williams’ record-breaking 23rd Grand Slam title was won at the age of 35 years 124 days, making her the oldest tennis Grand Slam singles winner (female).
As previously mentioned, Serena faced Venus in the final. They set a record as the oldest tennis Grand Slam singles finalists (open era), with an aggregate age of 71 years 349 days.
After this victory, Serena also became the oldest person ranked world tennis number one (female), leapfrogging Angelique Kerber (Germany), who crashed out in Round 4 of the tournament.
In the final of the 2019 US Open, where Serena lost to Bianca Andreescu, she became the oldest tennis Grand Slam singles finalist (female), aged 37 years 346 days.
This match also saw the greatest age difference for a Grand Slam singles final (open era). At 19 years 83 days old, Andreescu (b. 16 June 2000) was 18 years 264 days younger than Serena (b. 26 September 1981).
Andreescu wasn’t even born when Serena won her first Grand Slam title in 1999! The young Canadian became the first player born in the 21st century to win a Grand Slam singles title and the first teenager to win a Grand Slam singles title since Maria Sharapova in 2006.
The record for the most Olympic tennis gold medals won by an individual is shared by both Williams sisters, who have won four titles each.
Venus won gold in 2000 and Serena won it in 2012, where she beat Maria Sharapova (Russia) in one of the most one-sided tennis finals in history. Serena set a record for the fewest games lost in a women’s singles Olympic tennis final, dropping only one game in the second set.
The Williams sisters’ remaining three gold medals were won together, in the doubles tournaments at the 2000, 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games.
Unsurprisingly, they also hold the record for the most Olympic tennis doubles titles won, with three. They share this record with Reginald "Reggie" Doherty (UK, 1872-1910), who won the men’s and mixed doubles at the 1900 Paris Olympics, followed by a third gold at London 1908.
Serena also has the most wins of the Hopman Cup by an individual (female), which isn’t an Olympic tournament, but is an international country vs. country competition nonetheless. Representing USA, Serena has won the Hopman Cup twice, in 2003 and 2008. The record is shared with Arantxa Sánchez Vicario (Spain), who won in 1990 and 2002.
To date, Serena Williams has banked $94,618,080 (£80.9 m) in prize money from her singles and doubles career, which is a record for the highest earnings in a tennis career (female).
She also had the highest earnings in a tennis season (female), earning $12,385,572 (£7.5 m) in prize money in 2013.
She won the French Open, the US Open and the season-ending WTA Tour Championships, winning a total of 11 WTA singles titles from 13 finals.
A record Serena will be less proud of is the largest Grand Slam tennis fine. In a semi-final match against Kim Clijsters (Belgium) at the 2009 US Open, Serena was fined $82,500 (£53,000) after a verbal outburst against a line judge who called for a foot-fault at a crucial point of the match.
She was also given a one point penalty as she had already been given a warning, resulting in Clijsters winning the match.
Established in 1999, the Laureus World Sports Awards honour individual and team achievements throughout the year and are often referred to as the sporting equivalent of the Oscars.
Serena Williams has won the most Laureus World Sportswoman of the Year awards, claiming the trophy four times in 2003, 2010, 2016 and 2018 respectively.
She also won the Comeback of the Year award in 2007 after fighting back from injury and depression, taking her total number of awards to five, which is a record for the most Laureus World Sports Awards won (female).
Serena is also recognized as being the highest ranking athlete on the Forbes Most Powerful Women list (current). She placed 85th overall on the 2021 list, higher than any other sportswoman.
Additionally, she has the most Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards nominations for a female athlete, receiving her tenth nomination in 2021.
And last but not least, merely owing to the fact that it doesn’t fit into any of the categories, is Serena’s record for the most followers on Twitter for an athlete (female). She is the most popular sportswoman on the platform, with 10.7 million followers currently.
As she evolves away from tennis as the greatest female player of all time, Serena plans to focus on her family and her other endeavours, such as becoming an author. Whatever else she decides to do next, we have no doubt that Serena Williams will continue to break more records!