Serena's Summer of SlamAugust 04, 2015

Is Serena Williams the greatest female tennis player ever? Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, and Martina Navratilova believe so. The US Open, the final Grand Slam tournament of the year, is a month away, but tickets are selling fast. Every tennis fan in New York wants to flock to Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 12, the date of the women's singles final. Williams is the three-time defending champion.

Williams, who turns 34 on September 26, has not played since winning her opening match at the Swedish Open. She withdrew from her second-round match against Klára Koukalová due to a right elbow injury. She didn't compete in the Bank of the West Classic. The American is dominant in the major tournaments, but not the entire tour. (Serena Williams and Karolína Plíšková have the most tournament finals at 4.) It doesn't matter at this stage of her illustrious career. Serena and Venus Williams will compete in the 2016 Olympics. No one knows what happens after next season, but the younger Williams is not hinting of retirement.

It will be better to compare Serena to the other great female players of the game, which is the only way to know the extent of her greatness. Let's have a look:

Margaret Court. The Perth native is the first woman to achieve the singles Grand Slam, winning the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open in 1970. The Aussie also won three of the four majors in 1969 and 1973. She was that dominant in the sport's big events, and Serena's numbers aren't far from Court's. (If the American successfully defends her Australian Open title next year, she'll tie the Aussie legend for the most women's singles titles in the Open Era.) Williams did the Serena Slam twice, and fans are hoping she'll be healthy next month.

Chris Evert.No female tennis player has a longer match-winning streak in clay than Evert. The native of Boca Raton won 125 matches from 1975 to 1979, and some tennis pundits believe this record won't be broken. Serena's record in dirt may be relatively dismal, but she has been impressive in the other surfaces.

Martina Navratilova. The Czech-born player was almost untouchable from 1983 to 1984. In fact, Evert took a sabbatical leave from the game after that heartbreaking loss in the finals of the 1984 US Open. Serena had been on a roll too. Although her numbers didn't come close to Navratilova's, it doesn't mean that she wasn't better. Maybe there were more hard hitters.

Steffi Graf. Not a few believe the German could have been the greatest player if she was conscious of (tennis) records. She has the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open Era, which Serena can surpass next year. She's also the only player to achieve a Grand Slam and win an Olympic gold medal on the same year. There are some similarities between Graf and Williams, as both struggle with injuries during their career.

Martina Hingis. She was probably the greatest teenage player in the tour, achieving multiple records at a very young age. The Swiss Miss was near invincible in 1997, winning 12 of the 13 tournaments she entered. She only lost to Iva Majoli in Roland Garros. Serena's progression took a bit longer, but she never look back after winning her first major crown.

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