Serena Williams' career shows what turbulence can arise when an authority breaks away.

Polite denial did not help. And so, Serena Williams once again explained in a nutshell what drives her since she was first able to grab a racquet with both hands at the age of four. "It's always about winning for me," she said earlier this year. That was her attitude in every match.

Why should not she confess to this attitude? Tennis is a battle: a contactless duel in which the opponents hit balls around their ears; a duel from which only one can emerge victorious; a game form of pure Darwinism at a distance. And no one dominates this battle, across a netting, more impressive than Serena Williams of Palm Beach, Florida, 37, the best tennis player of the present. She has won 23 Grand Slam tournaments singly at the four major tournaments in Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon and New York. In the world rankings, she was crowned number one over all others for 319 weeks, as the undisputed queen in a white kingdom. It takes little imagination to imagine why it is hard for Williams after 20 years in professional sports to get used to a new idea: that losing is also part of the game.

This year Serena Williams has not won a tournament yet. In Rome, she canceled her second round match this week for knee pain. But she never allowed injury as an excuse; as little as the fact that she allowed herself a break after the birth of her daughter Olympia. So it remains for the time being in the doctrine of victory, which she announced in January: "I will continue to march."

And yet it is to be noted as a snapshot that the hegemony of the queen is broken. That she appears less intimidating and frightening to her counterparts in the field today than before. "There is no longer this one dominant player Serena Williams has been long," said Barbara Rittner, responsible for women's sports in the German Tennis Association expert responsible. After their break Williams had "physically not yet reached their impressive consistency again"; Moreover, today she is clamped as a mother very different and required at a tennis tournament.

23 Grand Slam victories between 1999 and 2017, seven at Wimbledon: Serena Williams.

(Photo: Adam Pretty / Getty Images)

Now, upheavals at the top of every sport occur periodically; no career takes forever. This time, however, a unique change in the history of professional women's tennis can be observed: For never before has there been such a large number of champions in such a short time. In the 18 tournaments of the WTA calendar worldwide until April 14, 2019, 18 different players have won the 18 trophies. Meanwhile, after 23 tournaments 21 winners – only Petra Kvitova from the Czech Republic and the Dutch Kiki Bertens secured two titles. The list shows what kind of state-like turbulence also results in tennis when the authority of many years is lost.

Because Serena Williams has, as Barbara Rittner says, "revolutionized tennis". The DTB women's boss, who even competed against the eight-year younger American, has experienced this "on good days as unbeatable": "It was physically, in terms of strength, technically ahead of anyone else." The decisive factor, according to Rittner, was the fitness of Serena Williams and her sister Venus, when they took to the big stages of the center courts in the 1990s. All professional players would have had to gain in this respect to keep up. Also in the commitment of fitness coaches and physiotherapists who are today's staff of every professional, the Williams sisters were therefore trend-setting.

In 2019 there were 21 winners in 23 tournaments

Winners in January:

Shenzhen Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)

Auckland Julia Görges (Bad Oldesloe)

Brisbane Karolina Pliskova (Czech Republic)

Sydney Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

Hobart Sofia Kenin (USA)

Australian Open Naomi Osaka (Japan)

February:

St. Petersburg Kiki Bertens (Netherlands

Hua Hin Dajana Jastremska (Ukraine)

Doha Elise Mertens (Belgium)

Dubai Belinda Bencic (Switzerland)

Budapest Alison Van Uytvanck (Belgium)

March:

Acapulco Yafan Wang (China)

Indian Wells Bianca Andreescu (Canada)

Miami Ashleigh Barty (Australia)

April:

Charleston Madison Keys (USA)

Monterrey Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

Lugano Polona Hercog (Slovenia)

Bogosichjnta Amanda Anisimova (USA)

Stuttgart Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)

Istanbul Petra Martic (Croatia)

May:

Prague Jil Teichmann (Switzerland)

Rabat Maria Sakkari (Greece)

Madrid Kiki Bertens (Netherlands)

And so the overwhelming dominance, which the competition felt tortured, has proven to be an advantage for women's tennis in the long run. All who had to be measured against Williams, have become technically and training methodically better. "Strength, condition, speed," says Rittner, "are at a different level today." That also explains why nearly two dozen players are playing for the trophies.

A title, the 24th in a Grand Slam tournament, Serena Williams still wants to win. Then she would catch up with the Australian Margaret Court. It would be a cup for the shelf. Their dominance has long been proven

. (dayToTranslate) Tennis (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung Sports (t) Sports (t) Süddeutsche Zeitung (t) SZ

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