‘Serena Williams changed tennis as she opened doors, invented tennis intimidation, brought business to women’s tennis’

Serena Williams pumped up

Patrick Mouratoglou has highlighted how Serena Williams has changed tennis for the good with her French coach saying she will go down as the greatest player of all time even if she doesn’t break Margaret Court’s record for most Grand Slams.

Tennis great Williams turned 40 on Sunday and, although in the twilight of her illustrious career, she remains one of the biggest names not just in tennis, but sport in general.

The American has won 73 singles titles – including 23 Grand Slams – while she has also won 14 women’s doubles majors, two mixed doubles Slams and four Olympic gold medals.

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And while those numbers speak for themselves in terms of her on-court achievements, the impact she had on tennis in other areas should not be forgotten with Mouratoglou underlining some of the ways she has influenced the sport.

“She changed tennis,” he told Agence France-Presse.

“She brought an athletic dimension that there was not there at all, she opened the doors, with her sister Venus, to a whole generation of players because it was a white sport.

“She invented tennis intimidation because she has a presence that makes others fear her. For a very long time, it was impressive.

“She also brought the business to women’s tennis. Before her, the business was very small and with her it became huge because she has such an aura, she has become such a marketing object, too, that huge contracts are possible for the players.”

Williams won the last of her 23 Grand Slam singles trophies in 2017 and her tally is one shy of Court’s record. However, 11 of Court’s majors were won at the Australian Open while 13 of her Slams were won during the amateur era.

For Mouratoglou there is only one winner in terms of the greatest player of all time.

“Margaret Court was playing at a time when three-quarters didn’t even go to Australia (for the Australian Open), where tennis was an amateur sport, when the draws were 16 players,” he said.

“I don’t mean to disrespect Margaret Court, but it’s another era. Yes, it would be better if Serena broke her record but, if she doesn’t, she will still be the greatest player of all time.”