Since successful her 7th Australian Open identify two years in the past whilst 8 weeks pregnant, the American has remained one shy of Margaret Court docket’s all-time Grand Slam report of 24 primary singles titles.
A few of her closest competitors assume she nonetheless has what it takes, however with the power and intensity of girls’s tennis massively advanced lately, it would possibly not be simple.
“She’s nonetheless Serena Williams, and she or he nonetheless has gained 23 slams,” former French Open quarterfinalist Carolina Garcia instructed CNN Recreation.
“Numerous ladies on Excursion might be satisfied to make two finals in a 12 months,” stated the 19th-ranked Frenchwoman, who has misplaced all 3 suits she performed in opposition to Williams.
‘Everyone seems to be hungry for slams’
The Australian Open, the season’s first tennis primary, begins on January 14 in Melbourne. Roger Federer of Switzerland and Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki are the protecting champions.
“She it is going to be disillusioned, however I believe she will nonetheless do it,” Garcia stated about Williams, the Four-1 favourite for the ladies’s identify with UK bookmaker William Hill.
“However she has to paintings arduous, like everybody, as a result of everyone seems to be hungry for slams. However I do not believe she has misplaced the rest.”
Again-to-back primary defeats
Williams, 37, returned to the ladies’s WTA Excursion ultimate March after a 14-month maternity go away, throughout which she underwent surgical procedure on account of headaches following the delivery of her daughter, Olympia. Even if Williams was once the one participant, with the top-ranked Simona Halep, to succeed in two Grand Slam finals in 2018, she misplaced them each.
Two months later, at the USA Open, Williams seemed very just like her outdated self once more till the general, the place she misplaced 6-2 6-Four to Naomi Osaka, a Jap participant 16 years her junior, armed with a large serve that fits Williams’ personal.
After that defeat, which is able to perpetually be remembered for Williams’ row with the chair umpire and accusations of sexism afterwards, the previous international No. 1 ended her season early.
She started 2019 on the Hopman Cup blended group exhibition match in Perth, successful all 3 of her singles suits.
Drive — ‘The entirety’s within the thoughts’
With the burden of historical past on her shoulders, did all of it grow to be an excessive amount of?
“I will be able to see it slightly from my point of view, that she got here again, and she or he sought after to win a Grand Slam, and she or he was once beautiful shut two times,” two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova instructed CNN Recreation.
“Possibly she put numerous drive on herself as neatly, as we noticed at the USA Open, with all of the feelings,” stated the Eighth-ranked Czech, who staged a a hit comeback herself in 2017 after maintaining a probably career-ending harm on her hand in a knife assault.
“I believe it is the whole thing within the thoughts,” stated Kvitova, who was once out for 6 months following the assault in her space by way of an outsider. “It is tricky to come back again and play like sooner than, like you did not have day without work.”
‘Numerous revel in in finals’
Taking part in Serena Williams in a big tennis ultimate was once as soon as thought to be a nearly not possible job.
From the 2001 US Open to the 2015 Wimbledon championships, Williams misplaced best 4 Grand Slam identify suits.
However since Italian Roberta Vinci ended her historical quest for the calendar Grand Slam on the 2015 US Open semifinals, the American has long past 2-Four in Grand Slam finals.
For Kerber, who has now defeated Williams in two of 3 primary finals, the important thing to beating essentially the most a hit participant of the Open generation at the recreation’s greatest levels is to concentrate on your self.
“I’ve now performed her in 3 Grand Slam finals, and it’s at all times after all tricky to play in opposition to her as a result of she has such a large amount of revel in within the finals,” the German, who additionally beat Williams on the 2016 Australian Open finals sooner than shedding to her at Wimbledon that very same 12 months, instructed CNN Recreation.
“For me, what I’ve discovered within the ultimate years, is solely to seem on my facet of the courtroom, looking to play my tennis, play like I follow, and take all of the revel in that I had from my tournaments, my suits directly to the massive level,” she stated.
‘I do not worry her’
Even if Williams has a Five-Three lead over Kvitova, the 28-year-old Czech has overwhelmed the American the ultimate 3 times they performed, together with a three-set conflict in the second one spherical of Cincinnati in August.
“To be truthful, I do not worry her,” stated Kvitova. “I performed her in Cincinnati, she performed nice tennis, it was once an excellent fit. However, however, after all, it is nonetheless Serena. She’s an ideal champion and whilst you face her, you at all times want to be ready for a actually tricky one. I believe if she remains to be there, she’s going to win extra Grand Slams.”