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Compton's Golden Girls

Venus and Serena Williams have become the greatest Olympic tennis players ever!

Venus and Serena Williams have four gold medals each, more than any other tennis player in Olympic history! 

AP Photo

Article originally published by the Los Angeles Sentinel. www.lasentinel.net

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Sports Editor (2010-2013)

Venus and Serena Williams have been climbing the ranks of the greatest tennis players ever in the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) for nearly a decade and a half, creating bios that boasts a combined 21 Grand Slam titles as they have overpowered and outlasted their competition.  As great as their WTA bios are, their Olympic bios are even greater. 

On the world’s greatest stage, the sisters have accumulated four gold medals each, more than any other male or female tennis player, making them the greatest Olympic tennis players ever.  No other players even have four combined medals, gold, silver, or bronze. 

Venus won a singles gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, and the pair won the doubles gold medal that year as well.  They went on to win the doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and this past week in London. 

Serena was injured in 2004, causing her to miss the Athens Olympics, where Venus and teammate Chanda Rubin failed to medal, giving Venus her only loss ever in Olympic doubles competition. 

The sisters have been so dominant in doubles action at the Olympics that while playing together they have never lost a single set in 15 matches, and they are the only pair ever to win the gold medal in doubles three times at the Olympics. 

The day before taking home the gold in doubles in London, Serena equaled her sister in singles competition by winning the gold medal without much resistance from her opponent, defeating Maria Sharapova 6-0, 6-1.

With that victory Serena has taken one more step to cementing herself as the greatest women’s tennis player of all time, as she now has a Golden Slam in singles competition, which is winning all four WTA Grand Slam titles and the Olympic Gold.  Steffi Graf is the only other player to accomplish that feat. 

Serena has one upped Graf though, as she is the only tennis player ever, male or female, to win the Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.  Roger Federer almost equaled that feat this year.  He already has a Golden Slam in men’s doubles, but earlier this week he lost in the gold medal match to Andy Murray.

Serena’s singles victory also made her the first player since none other than her sister Venus to win both the singles and doubles gold medal in the same Olympics. 

Venus and Serena have been the greatest female tennis players of this generation, with Serena leading the way.  She is now chasing history as she has surpassed the conversation about being the greatest player of her era, which she clearly is.  Now Serena is in the conversation of being the greatest player ever. 

Strong arguments can still be made for Graf, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Billy Jean King, and Margaret Court.  At this point they all have more Grand Slam titles than Serena, but it is hard to compare the competition level from different eras. 

Even with more titles, put any of those ladies on the other side of the court while Serena is serving the ball and it would be hard to believe that any of them would stand much of a chance.  Serena has served the ball as fast as 128 mph, which is the second fastest recorded time ever.  Not surprisingly, the only woman to serve the ball faster is her sister Venus, who once served the ball at 129 mph.  Serves like that were unheard of before this era, and the great women players before this generation would have never seen anything that fast.

Serena holds the all-time records for most aces in a match (24), and most aces in a tournament (102), both happening at the 2012 Wimbledon Championships. 

Even at the age of 31, Serena is still well ahead of today’s competition, so she is still in the process of rewriting the record books.  By the time her career is over there may not be any arguments.  The girl from Compton may end up as the greatest women’s tennis player ever. 

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