Viola Davis leads the way in a different kind of battle royal. A battle royal that puts the women in the sport in a position to dominate the men — by winning the sport.
Davis’s win against Venus Williams on Aug. 20, the first against a reigning champion, has put her in an elite group of women in tennis — and the women are all very, very good. The two-time champ, a five-time major champion (Wimbledon, the Australian Open, three French Opens, and US Open), is perhaps the most dominant force in the sport today. And Davis is the biggest superstar of them all, the most beloved and most lucrative athlete at the sport’s highest level.
Davis has more wins (16) than any woman in the Open Era in Grand Slam competition. And she has twice as many career titles as the next most successful player: Serena Williams, Williams’s twin sister, who has won 15 majors. And she has seven of the 10 career Grand Slam titles, the others being Williams’s, along with those of Billie Jean King, the reigning women’s champion, and Chris Evert, the reigning men’s champion (four of the seven). Davis won her eighth Australian Open in January, breaking the record of seven held by Steffi Graf.
It’s not just the amount; Davis is truly the most dominant player. She has won 17 consecutive matches out of a possible 19 and played through three sets on five occasions. That is the best winning percentage in the Open Era. And she has a record 14 Grand Slam finals — more than any other player in the Open Era. Those finals include five grand-slam titles (for the win against Williams in Melbourne; and, with her victory over Venus on Monday, the record for a woman), as well as the record number of top-ranked players to make a Grand Slam final (five). Davis