The illustrious, history-making, all-time record equalling 24th Grand-Slam has always seemed an inevitability for Serena Williams, but with the prospect of any tennis some way-off and the looming reality of a 40th birthday closing in, is it getting too late?
With this year’s French Open already postponed and Wimbledon cancelled for the first time since the Second World War, Williams' quest for more Grand-Slam glory will likely have to wait till next year at the very least.
Back in 2017 it seemed almost certain that the 38 year old would break Margaret Court’s record of 24 major singles honours when she won the Australian Open whilst pregnant with her first child. Since then however, whilst motherhood didn’t stop Williams from easing to Grand-Slam finals, three successive defeats at the final hurdle have undeniably dented her desire to become the undisputed greatest of all time
For someone with 23 Grand-Slams to their name already, one would be foolish to assume nerves and lack of mental toughness are the cause of Serena’s failure to win recently, but three years since her last major success obviously casts doubts. Her past two Wimbledon finals have ended in straight-sets defeats and loss to Naomi Osaka in the 2018 U.S Open decider was not without controversy and outburst. Perhaps what Serena is guilty of is not lacking the mental state of mind to win, but rather knowing that perhaps her time playing the game may not last much longer.
John Fitzgerald, the former Australian Davis Cup captain, believes the cancellation of Wimbledon especially is a huge blow to the seven time winner, telling the AO Show podcast that “In recent times, she's struggled to win on that final day at a grand slam.”
Will we see Williams next year? Will we see her at Wimbledon? Will we even see tennis by then? Hopefully the answer to all three is yes, but for now, that 24th Grand-Slam is not yet within touching distance.
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