Don’t Count Serena Williams Out Of The Tennis Championship Game Just Yet

Don’t be discouraged when you search “Serena Williams” on Google and find that the top articles are about her daughter swinging a tennis racquet and how tough it was to plan Duchess Meghan Markle’s baby shower.

With the European clay court tennis season underway and the French Open around the corner, the hard court Grand Slam record holder is thinking about her tennis game – even while helping her 1-year-old daughter with hers.

Williams, 37, who has dealt with injuries and illness in the three tournaments she’s entered this year, is on point to play at the French Open (Roland Garros) when it starts May 26 in Paris.

In January at Indian Wells, Calif., Williams bowed out with a virus in the third round while playing Garbine Muguruza. She twisted her ankle in the Australian Open quarterfinal playing Karolina Pliskoval, letting four match points escape her. And after winning her first match in Miami, she left the tournament with a knee injury. Published reports say she is on the mend and her plan is to play in the Italian Open and the French Open, both in May.

Bookmaker is among the top-rated sportsbooks that will offer odds on the wide-open women’s field of players vying for the Suzanne-Lenglen Cup awarded to the French tournament winner.

Fueling the “anyone can win” mentality in the women’s competition is that of the 14 tournaments so far this season, there has been 14 different winners. No one player has momentum, which makes it ripe for the picking.

“It’s by far the most wide-open field as far as I can remember,” Chris Evert, seven-time French Open champion, told The New York Times. “It’s not only the closeness in talent and skills. Attitudes, emotions and fitness and injuries enter into it as well. I have no clue.”

For Williams, the French Open is another step toward her hunt for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title. She boasts an extraordinary career on clay with a winning percentage of 83 percent.

For years, matching and breaking tennis champ Margaret Court’s record seemed like a sure thing but as of late seems a more daunting task.

In 2017, after giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., named for husband, Reddit mastermind Alexis Ohanian), Williams developed blood clots which traveled to her lungs causing a pulmonary embolism. If that wasn’t enough, she also suffered other post-birth complications that not only threatened her career but her life.

Her return to tennis and attempt to climb back to being No. 1 (her current WTA ranking is 11th) been a hit or miss struggle to regain form. Don’t get us wrong, Serena has played some stellar tennis and has come very close to capturing another Grand Slam.

Last year, she lost the Wimbledon final to Angelique Kerber and, again, was runner up at the U.S. Open, which likely won’t be remembered for her tennis but more for the dispute with the chair umpire, where the pressure to equal Court got the best of her.

“I have been going for the record what seems like forever now, so it doesn’t feel any different,” Williams said at the Australian Open in January.

At last year’s French Open, she turned heads with a black compression catsuit she wore to help prevent blood clots. Tournament officials were not impressed and have said they will ban catsuits at future tournaments.

At the U.S. Open, Williams downplayed the fashion controversy saying she and French Tennis Federation president Bernard Giudicelli had spoken and everything was good.

“I think that obviously, the Grand Slams have a right to do what they want to do,” Williams said last August. “I feel like if and when, or if they know that some things are for health reasons, then there’s no way that they wouldn’t be OK with it. So I think it’s fine.”

In preparing for this years French Open, coach, Patrick Mouratoglou, said all his focus is on Serena. “With her everything is possible,” he told Tennis World. “She can keep going for a year or five.”

Former champ Evert concurs. “A healthy Serena is a dangerous Serena; she hasn’t been healthy all year,” Evert told The Times. “She still has an edge in power and experience.”


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