News ID: 263695
Published: 0225 GMT December 30, 2019

Never count Serena out; magic number 24 looming yet again in 2020

Never count Serena out; magic number 24 looming yet again in 2020
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Serena Williams is chasing one last record as she heads into 2020...but does it matter?

Since Williams returned to the court after maternity leave, the expectation in every Grand Slam is that she will finally equal Margaret Court’s record of 24 majors, Eurosport reported.

Widely agreed to be the greatest of all time, that one last milestone has squirmed out of Williams' grasp so far.

She’s had the opportunity four times.

And four times she’s been beaten by a younger, quicker, fitter rival – in straight sets at that.

Angelique Kerber crushed her 6-3, 6-3 in the 2018 Wimbledon final.

Naomi Osaka did it 6-2, 6-4 in a notorious US Open final.

Simona Halep put on a superlative display to win 6-2, 6-2 in the 2019 Wimbledon final.

And Bianca Andreescu held off a second-set resurgence to win the 2019 US Open final 6-3, 7-5.

Indeed, in the last two years, Williams has not got a single title under her belt – almost unheard of for her.

Can 2020 finally be the year she breaks the record?

Osaka has warned recently, “It is silly to write Serena off,” and of course she is right. Achieving a quartet of Grand Slam finals after giving birth and suffering a life-threatening embolism shows just how determined Williams remains.

But with so many other demands on her time – and inevitably an eye on what she might do after she finally hangs up her racket – what the 38-year-old may lack is match sharpness.

Former WTA world number five Daniela Hantuchova has previously said that Williams would benefit from playing a few more tour events, suggesting, “I do believe she should play a few extra tournaments to be able to handle those finals better and so things can come automatically in the big moments.”

A reliance on playing her way to form over the course of a Slam fortnight has not proved successful in the past two years, so clearly something needs to change if she’s to write her name in the record books once more.

But with the number 24 being bandied about prior to the first major of the year in Melbourne, perhaps it is worth remembering that Court’s record is ultimately an artificial one, set when the fields were smaller and not all the top players would travel to all the Slams. Eleven of Court’s Slam titles came in her native Australia.

Assuming Williams is not going to trek all over the world on tour again in the year to come, perhaps observers should be looking ahead – not to Melbourne, where she goes in as an inevitable favorite for the trophy, but to Flushing Meadows in the autumn, where she could lift her seventh US Open – and finally crack that magic 24 barrier.

But if she doesn't, the absence of one last Grand Slam title makes no difference at all to the Williams legacy.

 

 

   
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