Serena Williams says she’s won so many grand slam titles that they’ve all become a bit of a blur.
But her childhood inspiration is urging the all-conquering world No.1 to settle the debate around the game’s greatest ever by powering past Margaret Smith Court’s all-time record 24 grand slam singles titles.
Turning 35 in September and already women’s tennis’s oldest major champion, Williams admits she’s hungry for more after equalling Steffi Graf’s 22 singles slams, the most in the 48-year professional era.
“When you’re great, you are greedy because you want more and you want to keep going back to the table and you want to eat more and eat more,” said the grand slam glutton after her Wimbledon final triumph over Angelique Kerber.
While Williams says winning majors never gets boring, the American admits some victories are more memorable than others.
“There’s definitely some blurs between eight, nine and 10. I don’t even know where eight, nine and 10 was – or when,” Williams said.
Landing her first at the US Open at just 17 was obviously sweet and catching fellow American all-time greats Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert with her 18th slam in New York in 2014 was also special.
“I definitely don’t remember where 12 was,” Williams said triumphing for a seventh time at the All England Club.
“I will be able to definitely place this one. And 18. I struggled a little with (winning number) 18. I can remember that one, too.
“I remember one and two. I remember one through four. Gets really blurry after that.”
Now the focus will be on Williams’ quest to reach Smith Court’s 24, possibly at the Australian Open in January, and then eclipsing it.
Billie Jean King, Williams’s childhood idol, is hoping the world No.1 can end all arguments.
“If she can keep her motivation and stay healthy, maybe she’ll be our greatest ever,” King said.
“I think she should be, I think she is, but she still has to prove it. I think she should go on to win more.
“I always talk about how the head, the heart and the guts have to be together to make greatness and that’s what Serena has.
“You can find lots of terrific physical athletes – you can find tons – but if they don’t have it emotionally and mentally, they’re not going to make it.
“She hates losing and I love that fact: that’s what makes her so great.”
Williams would prefer to let others – and her racquet – to determine her place among the greats.
“I’ve learned a lot about (trying to get to) 22,” she said.
“I learned not to get involved in those debates and conversations.
“I just learned to just play tennis. That’s what I do best.”