NEW YORK: Serena Williams put herself among the game's greats with her 18th Grand Slam title at the US Open, and there doesn't seem to be anyone in women's tennis poised to stop her building on that legacy.
"She's got no peer right now," said Martina Navratilova, one of a trio of women along with Chris Evert and, now, Williams, to win 18 major singles titles.
Although Williams will turn 33 this month, there seems no reason she can't add to her tally and close in on the 22 of Steffi Graf -- leader of the Open era list -- or even Margaret Court's all-time record of 24.
Navratilova was 33 when she won her last Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.
But Williams is showing no sign of slowing down, reaping the rewards now for decisions she and her sister Venus made in past years to play less -- a decision once bitterly criticized by pundits as disrespectful of the game.
"I might be too motivated," Williams said. "I train really hard and I never want to stop."
"Tell me I'm not crazy, he's like, 'You are!'" Not only does Williams have the appetite for more wins, she has the weapons.
Just ask good friend Caroline Wozniacki, overpowered 6-3, 6-3 in the US Open final on Sunday.
"She has the power," Wozniacki said. "She can push us back on the court and take the initiative.
"She definitely has the experience now, as well. I think that makes it even harder.
"Maybe back in the day she might have made not the right choices. Now she knows what she needs to do out there, and it makes it even harder to beat her."
Williams' record against the game's other top players tells the tale. Maria Sharapova, who lifted her fifth Grand Slam title at Roland Garros in June, has lost 16 of their 18 career meetings.
That includes her famous win over Williams in the 2004 Wimbledon final, but her only other victory came that same year -- a decade ago.
She has beaten China's two-time Grand Slam champion Li Na in 11 of 12 meetings.
Rising stars like Simona Halep and Eugenie Bouchard will have some maturing to do if they are to challenge Williams on a consistent basis.
Consider that her 2014 season, which so far features six titles including her sixth US Open crown, has been something of a substandard year by Williams' measure, thanks to her failure to garner any of the year's first three Slams.
"I think her results and her career say it all: 18 Grand Slam titles," Wozniacki said. "You don't get that unless you're exceptional in what you do. She is one of the greatest of all time.
"I definitely think that when Serena is on her game, there's not much we can do."
Italy's Francesca Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, who at 34 has had a courtside seat to Williams' career, said Monday the American was better than German great Graf.
"Sometimes I think she's the best there's ever been," said Schiavone, speaking at the Foreign Correspondents' Club in Hong Kong.
"She's special. When there was Navratilova, Graf, I was thinking who can come and be better than this and she arrived and it was Serena."