Not QUITE yet. Helen Wills Moody has a longer slam span. She won the US in 1923 and Wimbledon in 1938. That's 15 years. If Serena wins a slam next year (her first being in 1999) she will tie Helen.
Longevity is a plus in Serena's favor though. I'm with you on that.
Serena does play much more regularly than Wills Moody did past 33 though. Even at her most part time period ever from 2005-2006 she played more than Helen did past 33. So I would still give her the edge there, even over Helen.
I do expect Serena will win a slam in 2015 and go past even Helen's length of winning singles slams period, although you are right Helen has that all time record for now.
It's hard to judge if she had to play with wooden racquets. Also hard to say how someone as gifted as Navratilova would be in today's game. To me Martina would play like Amelie Mauresmo but without the nervousness.\
That would make her one dangerous player
This is true, although for what it is worth I would easily favor peak Serena even over a non nerved Amelie.
Or imagine Steffi with a topspin backhand. Again dangerous.
Hmm what would make her ever use this more. Had she used it more she would have done much better vs Martina while still in her prime in 86-87 (I know some will say Martina was still in her prime in 88-89 but I disagree), and better in 90-92 vs Seles, Sabatini, Novotna, when she stopped winning as many slams and these players gave her trouble. So that she didn't pull it out in times it would have benefited her a great deal, suggests to me she never would have.
Serena has without a doubt the best women's serve ever. Even with a wood racquet it would be a cut above anyone else's.
Was it the toughest field in women's history? I'm not convinced. Kimiko Date is still notching up wins for godness sake. (Just being a devils advocate here). Overall it's a tougher tour though-and all the hard court events are a wear on the body.
Oh I am not talking about the current field for sure. I am talking about the very late 90s and early 2000s field. I know the current field isn't the toughest ever, but IMO the field Serena dominated in 2002-2003 especialy was the toughest field anyone dominated. Only Seles in the early 90s could have a case against.
Here I will defend Serena to some extent. She would have a LOT more weeks as #1 under any sane ranking system. Jankovic and Wozniacki were JOKES as #1. If you can't win a major (I'd even settle for a YEC or Olympics) you are not #1. End of story.
Yes the ranking system sucks today. I know rankings should not just be about slam wins, and I agree consistency and overall tour performance should matter to some extent, but even looking beyond that Serena should have spent a lot more time at #1.
And it's tougher to win tour events now that there are less of them overall. There were no two week events outside the slams in the past.
This is true. You cant fairly compare to Evert, Navratilova, Court winning 160-200 tournaments. That was the period the game was the most plentiful combination of lots of opportunities and events, yet not an overly physical style of player. I am not talking about whether the fields were tougher or not, but the sheer physicality of the game today. However she does need to get to around 80 I feel, and I believe she will do this.
Consistency will always be a weakness for Serena. Once you get her head to head she'd deadly though. Does she have a losing head to head vs anyone?