Serena Williams won the Australian Open for a seventh time last month, passing Steffi Graf for the most Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era with 23.

Prior to her title in Melbourne, many considered Serena to be the greatest female tennis player of all time. Upon setting the record, the majority of fans and pundits argued that she firmly cemented her status as the unequivocal best.

Andy Roddick, the former U.S. Open champion who has known Williams since they were children, took it a step further. He believes that the American’s accomplishments transcend tennis.


“Saying she’s the best woman athlete shouldn’t be taken as offensive as long as she’s in the conversation with the greatest male athletes of all time as well,” Roddick told ESPN. “We need to enter her into the conversation with [Michael] Jordan and [Muhammad] Ali.

“I think that’s where the respect lies, and where the conversation needs to go, after the acknowledgement of what she’s done for women in sports.”


Williams, who retook the No. 1 ranking from Angelique Kerber with her championship Down Under, was asked to respond to being called one of the greatest female athletes of all time at Wimbledon last summer.

She famously responded, “I prefer the word, ‘one of the greatest athletes’ of all time.”

At 35 years old, the seven-time Wimbledon champion is showing no signs of slowing down. She didn’t drop a set in her seven matches in Australia, and wasn’t even forced to a tiebreaker.

Her next major singles title would tie her with Margaret Court for the most in the history of the sport.