(Main photo image credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
While the world watches LeBron “King” James and Steph Curry duel it out in the NBA Finals, there is another athlete who continues to dominate, choosing a racquet as her weapon of choice.
Serena Williams, who continues her climb up the ladder of tennis GOATS, took another step in that direction as she won the French Open today, her 20th career Grand Slam victory.
The match was no easy one by any means, and the world’s #1 player had to dig deep to make comeback after comeback, finally vanquishing her foe in the form of #13 seed Lucie Safarova.
After letting a 6-3, 4-1 lead slip against Safarova, who was making her first appearance as a Grand Slam finalist, Williams fought back to take a 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-2 win.
(Photo credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)
“I choked, simple as that you know,” she stated in an interview with NBC. “I hit a lot of double faults. My first serve just went off. I didn’t get any first serves in. I got really nervous it was a big moment to win 20.
“From that point she saw that I was nervous and she starting playing the tennis that she can play.”
With this victory complete, Williams is now just two shy of Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22. She also became the first woman to win both the Australian and French Opens back to back since Jennifer Capriati in 2001 and now has her sights on equaling Graf’s calendar-year Slam (1988) later this year at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Amazingly, Serena also battled through flu-like symptoms which she developed midway through the Open. Yet similar to the most dominant athletes in Championship game, i.e. Michael Jordan, Williams pushed the flu aside and tore through the quarters and semis before finally defeating Safarova after she sent a backhand shot into the net.
This gives the soon to be GOAT her third win in Paris, following victories in 2002 and 2013. While the French Open appears to give Serena the most difficulty, she suffered early-round exits in 2012 (first round) and 2014 (second round), she didn’t let history affect her performance, and she’s now a few steps closer to capturing the title as GOAT in the world of tennis.