For years, fans and pundits have been divided on who the GOAT is in women’s tennis as there are several contenders for the title across different generations. Fritz, speaking to Eurosport, picked the 23-time Grand Slam winner as his GOAT because he grew up watching Williams at her dominant best.
“For me, yes [Serena Williams is the GOAT in women’s tennis] because I didn’t live to experience Steffie Graf or the other ones that have won similar amount of Slams,” he said, adding, “Just the name Serena is powerful and when you hear Serena around the world you know who they are talking about, she brings power to her name. It’s passion, it’s power, it’s everything. So, for sure yeah, she is the GOAT for me, plain and simple.”
Fritz believes that her drive to compete and win has seen her return to the tennis circuit after taking a break to give birth to her daughter Olympia.
“She’s been passionate all through her career and she still is, because she gave birth to a child some years ago and she is still here. She doesn’t need to, she’s done everything there is in this sport but she’s still here and she still probably wants to win,” he said.
All eyes are currently on the 40-year-old as she’s expected to retire at the end of the upcoming US Open. The 24-year-old said that he hoped that Serena Williams would win the US Open as it would be a fitting swansong for her career.
“I do hope that she wins this tournament she’s going to play, the US Open. It would be a big way for her to end her career. I believe that she can, because I know her potential and I know her highest levels so I do actually hope that she does. It’s going to be interesting to follow,” he stated.
“She’s the GOAT because of what she’s done to the game” – Mats Wilander on Serena Williams
Also speaking to Eurosport was Mats Wilander, who agreed with Taylor Fritz about Serena Williams being the greatest of all time (GOAT). The seven-time Major winner called her the “most transcendent player” to grace women’s tennis.
“Serena is that [GOAT] for me, because of her sister, because of her story, because of where they came out of in Los Angeles. And I have to say because of African-American [players] not being common, I think the whole package makes her the GOAT,” he said.
“The most transcendent player that took women’s tennis and put it into the living room of not just women but sports fans in general. I think she’s the GOAT because of what she’s done to the game and I actually think that she needs to be admired because of the length of her career. She’s unbelievable, she’s been playing for 23 years on top,” he added.
Despite being on the last leg of her career, Wilander stated that one can never bet against her at any tournament given her acumen and prowess.
“When Serena is in the draw, even at this year’s Wimbledon, I found myself answering the question ‘can Serena win’, well she’s in the draw. If she can serve well, you know she can serve well, she hits the ball hard,” he said.
The Swedish former World No. 1 added that Serena Williams has commanded the kind of respect and fear that even the likes of Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Steffie Graf did not.
“I never had that feeling about Martina Navratilova or Chris Evert or Steffie Graf. When they go towards the end of the career, it was like nah they cannot win anymore, they are overpowered. I think that tell me, yes she is the greatest of all time. I really do, I don’t think there’s a question on her mind,” he said.