Serena Williams: EW's Olympic Stud of the Day
Serena Williams just won the tennis-world equivalent of an EGOT.
In case you’re not a 30 Rock or Liza Minnelli fan, an EGOT is the achievement of winning an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, the four most coveted awards in the entertainment industry. In short, something very few people have done. In tennis, the analogous feat for a singles player is a Career Golden Grand Slam, which means having won all four Grand Slam tournaments (Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Open, the U.S. Open) plus an Olympic gold medal.
On Saturday, Serena Williams did just that when she beat Maria Sharapova in two straight sets to capture Olympic gold, becoming only the fourth-ever singles tennis player with a Career Golden Grand Slam. The others are Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal, and Steffi Graf, who may have topped everyone else by achieving all five titles in the span of a single year, 1988. Williams had previously won two gold medals in the 2000 and 2008 doubles tournaments with sister Venus, earning them a Career Doubles Golden Grand Slam. But this was Williams’ first time achieving a Golden Grand Slam flying solo, and it’s considered the greater achievement. It’s the reason why shortly after she stood on the podium Studmaker John McEnroe declared Williams to be “the greatest female who’s ever played.”
Actually, the Olympics aren’t an especially important event on the tennis championship circuit. The sport wasn’t even a part of the Games until 1988, and even now the Olympics are only the 15th most important tournament for calculating a player’s worldwide rank.
But this particular victory has to be especially sweet for Williams, who continues her amazing comeback following her 2011 hospitalization for a hematoma and pulmonary embolism. Not only did she beat Sharapova in two straight sets, she only lost a single game in the match to the Russian contender. In fact, Williams lost just 17 games overall during these Olympics, resulting in an astonishing 81% victory rate. And she did it on the same court at Wimbledon–yes, Olympic tennis is being held at the site of the most prestigious Grand Slam tournament, how cool is that?–where she cruised to victory a month ago. Proving that, sometimes, lightning can strike twice.