Serena Williams believes the sporting world’s fascination with holder Novak Djokovic crashing out of Wimbledon is testament to the “extreme history” he has achieved.
The women’s world No 1 has reached a comparable level of accomplishment, and it was a Serena stroll on Centre Court on People’s Sunday saw her brush off a slow start to win 6-3 6-0 against Annika Beck, of Germany.
Williams was among the millions who never imagined Djokovic would lose to Sam Querrey in Wimbledon’s third round on Saturday, even from the point of two sets behind, when they resumed after being forced off by rain on Friday. Querrey came through in four sets for the best win of his career.
Djokovic came to Wimbledon on a 28-match winning run in grand slams, and as owner of all four titles in a non-calendar sweep of the board.
“I thought Novak would come back. I was surprised he didn’t, actually. But it happens to all of us,” Williams said. “I think he and I have both made extreme history.”
Williams completed her own, self-described, ‘Serena Slam’, at Wimbledon last year, but has since experienced a barren run by her standards.
Most players would settle for a run of US Open semi-final, Australian Open final, French Open final, albeit without winning a title, but at the top end of the sport the leading man and woman have set the most exacting standards.
Looking at Djokovic’s record, Williams said: “He’s won four in a row. I won four in a row last year. I think that’s historic in itself.”
In the open era, which began with the admission of professionals into grand slams in 1968, Steffi Graf holds the record for the most majors with 22. Williams is tantalisingly one short.
The win over Beck was the 300th of her career in the slams, putting her just six away from Martina Navratilova’s all-time record.