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Guest Blog

Serena's 500: Nice, but What's the Big Deal?

January 19, 2012 | 01:33 PM

When Serena was interviewed last night on Tennis Channel about notching her 500th career win, she was seated next to Chris EVERT, which certainly begged for a comparison to be made. Apparently, beggars don't benefit from The Queen no matter in her face they sit: it didn't occur to Serena to do the modest thing that any player beside an all time great would have done: acknowledge that their achievement might at least pale in comparison to their host's.

The TC might have anticipated this problem (perhaps they did), in which case they could have chosen to seat a lesser Hall of Famer with Serena. Lindsay Davenport? No... Even that relative underachiever in Major acquisitions won 50% more matches in her career than Serena (753 to 500). And, not incidentally, Lindsay's winning percentage was over 6% better than Serena's (89% to 82.7%), which shouldn't be a surprise as Lindsay finished #1 four times and #2 another two, while Serena has finished #1 only once. Tracy Austin would have been the right choice. Due to her injury shortened 3 year prime, she only won 335 matches and had a wining percentage of merely .788.

So what are the numbers, and what do comparisons tell us?

Among today's active players, 500 is a lot, though Serena's sister has 20% more:

Wins Losses Total matches/ (win %)

VENUS 598 - 147 = 745 (.802)

CLIJSTERS 506 - 122 = 628 (.805)

SERENA 500 - 104 = 604 (.827)

SCHIAVONE 488 - 332 = 820 (.595 )

MARIA 412 - 104 = 516 (.789)

Among All time greats:

NAVRATILOVA 1442-219 = 1661 (.868)

EVERT 1304-144 = 1448 (.900)

GRAF 900 - 115 = 1115 (.807)

SANCHEZ-VIC. 759 - 295 = 1054 (.720)

SABATINI 632 - 189 = 821 (.769)

SELES 595 - 122 = 717 (.829) Off the tour for 2.5 years of her 14 year career

HENIN 525 - 115 = 640 (.820) Retired for 2 years of her 10 year career

The numbers speak for themselves in terms of achievement. Serena's been a great part-time star. I guess to understand why, you'd have to read her book. Let me know how you like it.

Rick

WTA


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