Iga Swiatek claimed her third Grand Slam title at the US Open this year, but how do her statistics line-up with Serena Williams’ at the same age?
Williams announced her retirement from tennis in New York earlier this month, ending a remarkable career that has spanned more than 27 years.
In total, the 40-year-old won 23 major singles titles, including four in a row between 2014 and 2015.
Meanwhile, Swiatek is already well on her way to becoming a Hall of Famer, having won two majors this year and consolidated her position as the number one player in the world.
The 21-year-old has 10 career titles to her name already and has amassed more than $14 million (£12.18m) in prize money.
But how many Slams had Serena won by the time she was 21? And is there any chance of Swiatek surpassing the achievements of one of tennis’ all-time greats?
How do the stats compare?
Swiatek began playing regularly on the WTA Tour in 2019 as an 18-year-old and quickly made her way into the world’s top 50.
In 2020, she stormed to victory as a teenager at the French Open –– winning the tournament without dropping a single set.
This year, Swiatek claimed her second Roland-Garros title, before securing a third Grand Slam victory in New York.
The Pole’s record in finals is also exemplary –– winning all 10 in which she has competed, including five WTA 1000 titles.
After assuming the number one ranking from Ash Barty earlier this season, Swiatek went on a 37-match winning streak, which included six tournament victories in a row.
On paper, these stats are nothing short of extraordinary. Yet, Williams’ record at the same age was even better.
Having claimed her first major title at the US Open at the age of just 17, Williams failed to win another Grand Slam for the next two and a half years.
However, 2002 proved to be a sensational year for the American as she won the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open in succession.
Williams went on to win the 2003 Australian Open, thus achieving the career Grand Slam and a non-calendar Golden Slam, now known as the “Serena Slam”.
The US star subsequently claimed her second Wimbledon title later that year –– taking her Grand Slam title tally to six by the time she was 21.
Victory at Wimbledon was Williams’ 23rd career title overall, though she did also lose seven finals, including the 2001 US Open final to sister Venus.
Could Swiatek surpass Serena?
These statistics prove just how good Williams was as a youngster and just how difficult it will be for any player to better her résumé in the future.
Swiatek has 13 fewer titles than the American at the same stage of her career and three less Grand Slams.
Williams also proceeded to enjoy more dominance as her career went on –– completing another “Serena Slam” between 2014 and 2015.
That being said, Williams faced a lot of competition from the likes of Venus, Martina Hingis and Maria Sharapova, which prevented her from winning many more major titles.
Swiatek, on the other hand, is by far the best player on the women’s circuit right now and will likely be the favourite to add to her major tally at the Australian Open next year.
Granted, it will take some doing to win another 20, but as the age of Serena Williams comes to an end, it appears we’re entering into the Iga Swiatek era.