(June 10, 2013) Serena Williams captured her second French Open title on Sunday with a 6-4, 6-4 win over defending champion Maria Sharapova. The victory is her 16th major championship. She extended a career-record winning streak to 31.
The American stands just two majors behind Hall of Famers Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert at 18 who are tied for fourth on the all-time list. Topping the list for capturing the most majors are Margaret Court (24), Steffi Graf (22) and Helen Wills Moody (19).
At 31, Williams is at the age when most tennis players are close to retirement, but she’s at the peak of her powers, going 43-2 with six titles so far this year. Last year she captured Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the gold medal in singles and in doubles at the London Olympics and the WTA Year-End Championships.
Since losing in the first round of Roland Garros back in 2012, Williams is an astounding 74-3.
“I’m just really focused right now,” Williams said after her win in Paris. “It’s late. But I’m just really, you know ‑‑ I want to do the best I can. I want to give myself every opportunity to do that. That’s all I want.
“If that means I lose, at least I know I have done the best I can. It’s okay. I’m able to accept that. I feel like it’s okay.
“But as long as I give that effort, it feels better.”
Not only does Williams have a tight grip on the competition at No. 1, but she credits her “grip” for her recent success – with a product she helped to develop – MISSION Power Grip. Williams is a co-founder of Mission Athletecare – “Mission” is the first and only line of athlete -generated products designed to enhance performance in training and in competition. Other co-founders include Mia Hamm, David Wright among other elite athletes.
“My grip is absolutely KEY to my success,” Williams told Tennis Panorama. “When I’m playing for hours in the sun, heat and humidity my hands sweat a lot – that’s just the reality of being a tennis player. Sweaty hands can literally change your entire game. If your hands are sweaty your racket could slip or turn and ruin a shot, and even the thought of sweaty hands could affect your confidence. Before the MISSION Power Grip, there wasn’t a real solution – I just wiped my hands on my clothes to get them dry and that only lasted for a few minutes. I love this innovation; it’s definitely one of my most important keys to winning.”
Williams commented on how and why she changed her “grip.”
“Honestly, when I joined MISSION as a Co-Founder it was one of the first ideas I shared with the team – sweaty hands don’t just effect tennis players, but really almost every sport where a tight, dry grip is needed. I started working with the MISSION team reviewing lab samples of MISSION Power Grip – giving feedback on feel, duration and dryness – and we finally landed on a formula that I loved. I started using it about 2 years ago, and I haven’t stopped since. MISSION Power Grip is a game-saver and game-changer.”
Next stop for Williams will be The Championships, Wimbledon, where she’ll be coming in as the defending champion, going for her sixth Wimbledon title.