Serena Williams at the 2019 Australian Open
Pam Shriver recently appeared on an episode of “The Goat: Serena” podcast, where she gave her thoughts on Serena Williams’ future. The podcast, run by former professionals Chanda Rubin and Zina Garrison, reflects upon Williams’ career and the events that contributed towards her rise.
Over the years, Williams’ ground-breaking achievements have been marred by injuries and health concerns. Her most recent injury occurred at Wimbledon 2021 and has kept her sidelined from the tour ever since.
During the podcast, Shriver claimed that another injury to Williams would probably spell the end of her career.
“Physically she’s walking that fine line where she’s one injury away from not being to continue on and that’s going to be a difficult day for tennis, obviously for her,” Shriver said.Serena Williams at Wimbledon 2021
Shriver then went on to recall her first encounter with Serena Williams back when she was just 12 years of age. Shriver had organized a charity event in Baltimore and asked Richard Williams, Serena’s father, if he could bring his daughters to play an exhibition match.
Shriver, who ended up hitting a few balls with the younger of the two Williams sisters, said she was “astounded” by the power Serena possessed as a young girl.
“I had the Williams sisters come up to Baltimore to play my charity event,” Shriver said. “I asked Richard if they would stay in Baltimore after the exhibition event over the weekend. So they stayed for a few days and we practiced together. I hit with Serena and I was quite astounded by the power and I was like, “This is something else!”. I never played a 12 year old who had that kind of power.”
The 59-year-old went on to heap praise on Serena Williams’ serve, calling it the “greatest” in tennis history.
“Technique-wise it’s really the best serve in tennis history, but it’s also how she served that serve in the biggest moments. I think that made the rest of her game and she could feel more relaxed,” Shriver said of Serena Williams.
“Serena Williams has better assets as an athlete”- Pam Shriver on the difference between the Williams sisters
Venus and Serena Williams at the 2017 Australian Open
Pam Shriver then proceeded to talk about the fierce rivalry between Venus and Serena Williams, which consists of 31 matches spanning over two decades. While Venus’s initial surge of Grand Slam success did give her the edge, Shriver believes that Serena’s superior game helped her establish a far better career.
“In the long run as we sit here now, we just realise that Serena actually has better assets as an athlete and a more competitive mentality,” Pam Shriver said. “They’re both unbelievable champions and all three of us would love to have a fraction of their titles.””But I think when we take and separate them, Serena is a 100% better and you did kind of realize that when she won the US Open in 1999. I think she was showing clear signs then when we saw her serve and what she can do at such a young age with that serve,” she continued.
Shriver further asserted that Serena’s serve was probably what set her apart from her older sister. She lauded the 23-time Major champion for showing just how significant a weapon a good serve can be.
“There weren’t many serves aside from Serena’s serve and Venus’s first serve that stood out as unbelievable serves in the last 20-22 years,” Shriver said. “I think coaches and players realize that in women’s tennis having a great serve is vital to being a champion.””Serena Williams will have so many legacies, but I do think that she made an incredible impact on women tennis players realising that they need a better weapon,” she added.