Serena Williams says breaking Grand Slam record is no longer her priority

Serena Williams

Williams has won 23 major singles titles so far in her career but remains one short of Court’s tally of 24. 

The 40-year-old last won a Grand Slam in 2017 at the Australian Open and has lost in four finals since then. 

During this time, Williams has also given birth to her daughter, Olympia, and says that motherhood is now her main focus. 

Focusing on motherhood 

In an essay for Elle magazine, Williams stressed that her mindset towards tennis is different now. 

“Since I’ve had my baby, the stakes of the game have shifted for me,” she wrote. “I have 23 Grand Slams to my name, more than any other active player. But winning is now a desire and no longer a need.

“I have a beautiful daughter at home; I still want the titles, the success, and the esteem, but it’s not my reason for waking up in the morning. There is more to teach her about this game than winning.”

Williams also emphasised that having a child has enabled her to find her voice and speak out against injustice. 

“I’ve learned to dust myself off after defeat, to stand up for what matters at any cost, to call out for what’s fair – even when it makes me unpopular. Giving birth to my baby, it turned out, was a test for how loud and how often I would have to call out before I was finally heard.”

Will Serena Williams play at the French Open? 

Williams is currently ranked 240th in the world and is extremely selective in the tournaments she decides to play. Indeed, her focus is solely on winning her record-equalling 24th Slam and time may be running out. 

The former world number one did not play at this year’s Australian Open, sparking retirement rumours –– and she has yet to commit to playing the French Open either. 

It seems unlikely that the 40-year-old will compete, given she has faced injury problems of late and is not as comfortable on clay as other surfaces. 

Serena Williams was one of the highest-paid female athletes of 2021

But Williams did play at Roland-Garros last year –– making the fourth round before losing to Kazakhstan’s Elena Rybakina in straight sets. 

Nonetheless, Wimbledon appears to be a far more realistic event for the tennis icon to make her comeback, especially considering she is a seven-time winner at the All England Club. 

For now, it seems that motherhood is the priority, but fingers crossed we haven’t seen the last of Williams just yet.

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