Where does Serena Williams rank among the greatest ever Wimbledon champions?

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The Wimbledon women's singles draw will see the return of genuine greatness this year, with Serena Williams having been granted a wild card.

The 23-time Grand Slam winner has not played a singles match for a year and had looked to have all but retired from tennis, especially when her coach Patrick Mouratoglou announced he was splitting from her due to her inactivity on the WTA Tour.

However, Serena is back for another try at SW19, and that is worth celebrating. Let's do just that be taking a look at where she stands in the list of most prolific Wimbledon singles champions.

Bjorn Borg - 5 Wimbledon titles won

You don't need to know an awful lot about tennis to know all about Bjorn Borg. The Swedish star was a 1970s icon, perhaps the first the sport ever knew.

His career was also as brief as it was brilliant. He won 11 Grand Slams, five of them at Wimbledon, before walking away from the sport at the very top while just 26 years old.

Borg is not just a tennis legend, but a Wimbledon one too. The majority of his Slams were actually won at Roland Garros, but Borg captivated Centre Court like few others have.

Venus Williams - 5

Serena Williams went on to have such an incredible career that it is sometimes quite easy to forget how good Venus Williams was.

That's a little bit cruel in a way. Venus Williams is a brilliant Grand Slam champion in her own right, and if her sister was anyone else she would get a lot more credit than she generally does. She won five Wimbledon singles titles between 2000 and 2008. In fact, in the 11 years between 2000 and 2010, a Williams sister won the Wimbledon singles title nine times. That is absolutely extraordinary. Venus also won another six title at Wimbledon in the doubles, giving her 11 titles in SW19 overall.

Novak Djokovic - 6

Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon trophy
Novak Djokovic with Wimbledon trophy

For some reason, Novak Djokovic does not seem to get anywhere near the credit he deserves for what he has achieved at Wimbledon.

Perhaps it is because his achievements elsewhere have been so remarkable that his Wimbledon record isn't the highlight of his own resume. Perhaps it is because two other men have won more titles than he has in SW19. Maybe it's because, for some reason, Djokovic is cast as the villain of the tennis narrative and there is just a general reluctance out there to give him his due.

Still, six Wimbledon singles titles is some going, and it doesn't look he is anywhere near done yet.

Pete Sampras - 7

If Djokovic wins another Wimbledon this year, and he is the overwhelming favourite to do so, he will draw level with Pete Sampras on seven singles titles at the event. Sampras ran roughshod over the Wimbledon men's singles during the 90s and dominated his era as much as another player in history. The American's game was so suited to grasscourt tennis that his seven titles all came between 1993 and 2000, with him only denied the trophy in 1996.

Steffi Graf - 7

For half the time that Pete Sampras was dominating the men's singles at Wimbledon, Steffi Graf was doing the same in the women's event.

Graf started and finished her era of dominance earlier, but the two overlapped and were remarkably similar. The German, who finished her career with a remarkable 22 majors (the same amount as Rafael Nadal has now), won her first Wimbledon singles in 1988. By the time she won her last in 1996, she had taken seven of the previous nine titles.

Graf was a decent doubles player too, so she is ahead of Sampras here on account of the doubles title she won at Wimbledon in 1988.

Serena Williams - 7

Serena Williams with 2016 Wimbledon trophy
Serena Williams with 2016 Wimbledon trophy

Serena Williams will head to Wimbledon in 2022 seeking an eighth title. She arrives without playing any singles tennis at all for 12 months and at 40 years old. Despite all that, no one - no one - would be surprised to see her win it.

Serena's seven Wimbledon singles titles are spread out over a 15-year period, which makes her one of the greatest on longevity alone. In fact, she was still reaching finals at Wimbledon as recently as 2018 and 2019, both of which came after the birth of her daughter when she reduced her schedule accordingly.

That means that Serena has reached the final in two of the last three Wimbledons, which is testament to her brilliance given her age and lack of tennis in general. Serena has also won seven doubles titles at Wimbledon, taking her total to 14. Remarkable.

Roger Federer - 8

Roger Federer closing in on tennis return
Roger Federer closing in on tennis return

As long as he is not playing Andy Murray, Roger Federer is the absolute darling of Centre Court, and there is a good chance he always will be.

Federer's style, grace and elegance on the court just fits with the image that Wimbledon projects, and his brilliant grasscourt game has made him a real force at the tournament.

It hasn't always been plain sailing for Federer at Wimbledon, with him losing four finals along the way too. However, even they have been folklore-worthy. His defeat to Rafael Nadal in 2008 is widely regarded as the greatest tennis match of all time, while his 2019 defeat to Novak Djokovic is about the only one that can truly rival it.

Federer's Wimbledon-winning days appear to be over now. We won't see him again in SW19 until at least 2023, by which time he will be just a month or so shy of his 42nd birthday.

What a legacy he has created, though.

Martina Navratilova - 9

If someone tells you that Serena Williams is the undoubted greatest women's tennis player to ever pick up a racket, politely remind them of Martina Navratilova.

Certainly at Wimbledon there has never been a greater champion. She won 18 majors in her career - which is incredible given the fact she was usually competing against Chris Evert - and half of them came at Wimbledon. That total includes five titles in a row between 1983 and 1987, but even that only tells half the story of Navratilova's Wimbledon greatness. For four years in a row she left Wimbledon with two titles having won both the singles and doubles. In total, she won 11 Wimbledon doubles crowns, giving her a quite astonishing haul of 20 Wimbledon winners' trophies. Who is the greatest in general between her and Serena is a debate for another time, but with a total 347 career titles, 59 of them being majors, it's hard to argue against Navratilova. What is absolutely not in doubt, though, is that Martina Navratilova is the greatest Wimbledon champion of them all.

The article Where does Serena Williams rank among the greatest ever Wimbledon champions? appeared first on Planetsport.com.

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