Thousands of cheering spectators at Arthur Ashe Stadium in Flushing, NY witnessed history being made on Monday when tennis star, Serena Williams won her 308th career match at the U.S. Open. She became the winningest player in Grand Slam history.
USA Today reports that Williams first matched the records of Martina Navratilova, who has 306 career match wins, and of Roger Federer, who has 307, before making her way to the head of the pack after a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Yaroslava Shvedova to make history and secure a spot in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
“I just feel like I’m going out there doing what I need to do,” Williams said. “I’m not overplaying, I’m not underplaying. I’m just trying to play my way into this tournament.”
“This is where it all started, so it’s always magical for me,” Williams said while on court. “But 308 sounds pretty good.”
Ranked the number one female tennis player by the Women’s Tennis Association 6 times, Williams is also the most recent player, together with her sister Venus Williams, to have held all four Grand Slam women's doubles titles simultaneously (2009–10).
The Compton-raised player who burst onto the tennis scene with sister Venus, and began playing at age 3, said winning has been her prime motivation up until a couple of years ago. She told ESPN that now she is more motivated by breaking records.
One record she is looking to break is her tie with Chris Evert for six U.S. Open titles won. Should Serena be unable to make the final, however, No. 2 seed Angelique Kerber, the Australian Open champion, will take over the No. 1 ranking. Radwanska also has a shot at No. 1, as well, though the Pole must win the title outright.
In 2015, the U.S. Tennis Association renamed its stadium after Arthur Ashe, who opened the door for people of color to play the game. “Reading the stories about how Arthur wasn't able to play when he was 12 motivated me, because I thought, 'Wow, because of what he went through, what he did, I have the opportunity to play.' I have an opportunity to be the best I can be, because of him," she said.
Williams would like to get to 311 Slam wins this U.S. Open: That would mean she would win the tournament, earning her a record 23rd major (and break her tie with Steffi Graf at 22) as well as maintain her No. 1 ranking, which is in jeopardy over the next few days.
"I just think with everyone I play, they play a step up and above their ranking," she said. "I think that's the beauty, one of the reasons I'm able to hang. Everyone I'm playing is playing like they're No. 1. To me it doesn't really matter who I play because I have to expect they're going to play the match of their life. That's how I go into these matches now."
The U.S. Open will be held until September 11. Check local listings at www.usopen.org or ESPN.