Can she finally be called the greatest female tennis player of all time?
Now that Serena Williams has won her 22nd grand slam singles title with a straight-sets Wimbledon Championship win Saturday against Angelique Kerber of Germany — her seventh Wimbledon title by the way — can analysts and fans finally declare what they have suspected all along?
The possibility that Serena Williams is in fact the G.O.A.T.? Williams now ties Germany’s Steffi Graf’s Open era record of 22 grand slam singles titles, doing so with a dominance, power and stranglehold on the women’s game that few other players have enjoyed in the history of the game.
Serena made even more history during this year's tournament. Her match wins at Wimbledon have advanced the world No. 1 player into second place behind Martina Navratilova on the all-time wins list with a total of 300 career grand slam wins, according to ESPN.
Prior to the match, Williams made the long walk en route to Centre Court through the history of Wimbledon’s hallowed halls — plenty of that history made by her. She accepted a colorful bouquet before stepping onto center court and commencing match play, which — on her part — seemed to be a combination between nerves and nerves of steel.
This rematch of the Australian Open final was one for the books. A sometimes tentative Serena rallied in tense points, while Kerber kept the placement of her ground strokes against the baseline and often emerged as the victor in long rallies, clearly coming to play. This time, however, Serena was able to endure the German's blistering forehands and come up with a few tricks of her own for her 22nd title to tie Steffi Graf.
But Serena's road to greatness was not without its detours.
This year’s Australian Open was Williams' first chance to clench her 22nd slam after a stunning semifinal loss at the U.S. Open to Roberta Vinci of Italy last September. A loss that sent shock waves throughout the tennis world.
Serena's goal to tie Graf's record, and perhaps challenge Margaret Court's 24 Grand Slam record, remained aloof. Also out of Williams' reach was a Calendar Grand Slam. Serena had won all four majors consecutively, but never within a calendar year.
The top-seeded player did not capitalize on her third chance at 22 Grand Slam singles titles after she lost this year’s French Open to Garbine Muguruza of Spain.
Serena’s Wimbledon Championship win is seen by many as vengeance against Kerber for her Australian open loss, and a poke in the eye to Steffi Graf, who so say has recently advised Kerber — perhaps in an effort to protect her Grand Slam record.
That hasn't stopped Serena's momentum, neither has it impacted tennis analysts and commentators from making up their minds about Serena.
"Her [Serena's] place in history is perhaps second to none," said ESPN's Chris Fowler.
Chrissie Evert commented, "I've always said Serena Williams is the greatest player that we've ever seen."