It doesn’t really matter, it has to be done. Because as long as she is making history and chasing records we never even imagined she would contend for, let alone break, marvelling at the mastery of Serena remains both a duty and a necessity.
Serena has been winning grand slams across three different decades yet somehow looks fitter and is playing better at the age of 33.
The fact that she has been able to complete the ‘Serena Slam’ twice in her career yet 12 years apart makes one wonder not just how she’s physically able to sustain that level but more importantly how she’s still mentally up for it and where she finds her motivation.
Her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou says he believes Serena is “into her tennis” more than she’s ever been and she really does appear to be laser-focused on becoming the greatest of all time.
You sense that’s what really drives her.
At this point in her career Serena could really be doing anything she wants. She could be attempting to launch a music career – those regular karaoke sessions must have paid off by now – she could be a Hollywood star, a businesswoman, a philanthropist… really the sky is the limit for someone who has always shown she has a wide range of interests outside tennis.
But Serena has come back to what she is best at – dazzling on the tennis court – and it’s hard to predict when she will decide to hang up her racquet.
John McEnroe and Lindsay Davenport were discussing on the BBC on whether Serena would quit tennis once she has matched Steffi Graf ’s Open Era record of 22 slams.
Davenport said she felt Serena wouldn’t do that because she was having too much fun being No1 and winning.
If being the all-time best is what Serena is chasing then why wouldn’t she go for Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 slams? That’s only three majors away and the way she’s playing, she certainly can do it if she wants to.
She mentioned her team in her press conference Saturday and how a lot is owed to them and you’d have to agree that joining Mouratoglou was a huge turning point for her in her career.
She went to his academy in Paris after a shocking loss to Virginie Razzano in the French Open first round in 2012 – which remains Serena’s only opening round loss at a major – not knowing they would end up winning eight of the next 13 majors.
Mouratoglou seems to be fuelling her motivation because he comes off as a hugely ambitious person himself. She says when he started advising her at the beginning of their relationship he sounded very much like her father, Richard, who has shaped Serena’s success.
With her father’s role in her career diminished and Mouratoglou’s growing each day, you’d have to think Serena’s continuity at this level will be tied with how well things are going with the French coach, at least for the foreseeable future.
He seems to have a way of helping her stay calm and that will come in handy when she goes to New York for the US Open next month targeting a record 22nd major and the Grand Slam – something which hasn’t been achieved in 27 years.
If she triumphs on home soil for a fourth consecutive year, no one will be able to argue that she is not the greatest
Right now, it doesn’t seem far-fetched. It really is a mere seven matches away.
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