Since profitable her 7th Australian Open name two years in the past whilst 8 weeks pregnant, the American has remained one shy of Margaret Courtroom’s all-time Grand Slam report of 24 main singles titles.
A few of her closest competitors assume she nonetheless has what it takes, however with the energy and intensity of ladies’s tennis hugely advanced in recent times, it may not be simple.
“She’s nonetheless Serena Williams, and she or he nonetheless has gained 23 slams,” former French Open quarterfinalist Carolina Garcia informed CNN Recreation.
“A large number of ladies on Excursion might be glad to make two finals in a 12 months,” mentioned 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 main, 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 disenchanted, however I feel she will be able to nonetheless do it,” Garcia mentioned about Williams, the Four-1 favourite for the ladies’s name with UK bookmaker William Hill.
“However she has to paintings laborious, like everybody, as a result of everyone seems to be hungry for slams. However I don’t believe she has misplaced the rest.”
Again-to-back main defeats
Williams, 37, returned to the ladies’s WTA Excursion ultimate March after a 14-month maternity go away, all through which she underwent surgical procedure on account of headaches following the beginning of her daughter, Olympia. Despite the fact that Williams used to be the one participant, with the top-ranked Simona Halep, to achieve two Grand Slam finals in 2018, she misplaced them each.
Two months later, at the USA Open, Williams seemed very similar to her previous self once more till the general, the place she misplaced 6-2 6-Four to Naomi Osaka, a Eastern 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 global No. 1 ended her season early.
She started 2019 on the Hopman Cup combined staff exhibition tournament in Perth, profitable all 3 of her singles suits.
Force — ‘The whole thing’s within the thoughts’
With the burden of historical past on her shoulders, did all of it transform an excessive amount of?
“I will be able to see it somewhat from my standpoint, that she got here again, and she or he sought after to win a Grand Slam, and she or he used to be beautiful shut two times,” two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova informed CNN Recreation.
“Possibly she put a large number of force on herself as smartly, as we noticed at the USA Open, with the entire feelings,” mentioned the Eighth-ranked Czech, who staged a a success comeback herself in 2017 after maintaining a probably career-ending harm on her hand in a knife assault.
“I feel it is the whole lot within the thoughts,” mentioned Kvitova, who used to be out for 6 months following the assault in her space by means of an outsider. “It is tricky to return again and play like earlier than, like you did not have day off.”
‘A large number of revel in in finals’
Enjoying Serena Williams in a big tennis ultimate used to be as soon as thought to be a nearly inconceivable job.
From the 2001 US Open to the 2015 Wimbledon championships, Williams misplaced simplest 4 Grand Slam name 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 gone 2-Four in Grand Slam finals.
For Kerber, who has now defeated Williams in two of 3 main finals, the important thing to beating probably the most a success participant of the Open generation at the game’s greatest phases is to concentrate on your self.
“I’ve now performed her in 3 Grand Slam finals, and it’s all the time 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 earlier than shedding to her at Wimbledon that very same 12 months, informed CNN Recreation.
“For me, what I’ve discovered within the ultimate years, is solely to appear on my facet of the court docket, seeking to play my tennis, play like I apply, and take the entire revel in that I had from my tournaments, my suits directly to the large degree,” she mentioned.
‘I do not concern her’
Despite the fact that Williams has a Five-Three lead over Kvitova, the 28-year-old Czech has crushed 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 concern her,” mentioned Kvitova. “I performed her in Cincinnati, she performed nice tennis, it used to be an ideal fit. However, however, after all, it is nonetheless Serena. She’s a really perfect champion and whilst you face her, you all the time wish to be ready for a in point of fact tricky one. I feel if she continues to be there, she’s going to win extra Grand Slams.”