Serena Williams has been bidding to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record of 24 major singles titles since January 28, 2017. At times, she will have despaired over it and perhaps even privately questioned whether it will ever happen, but her wait might just about to be over…
Sport’s unpredictability, and the fact it can deliver stories we all thought would never be written, is what makes so many of us love it.
However, sometimes, it offers up a few clues highlighting that something might just be around the corner.
As we build up to the Aussie Open, the signs might just be pointing towards a 23-time Grand Slam champion finally drawing level with the one woman who sits ahead of her on the all-time charts…
“It’s been a long time. I think you could see the relief on my face. It’s pretty satisfying just to get a win in the final.”
After overcoming Jessica Pegula 6-3 6-4 in the final of the ASB Classic earlier in January, and successfully coming back from a slow start after going behind, Williams words were heartfelt.
Without question, she will have been boosted and fortified by her experience in New Zealand. It will have reminded her of the champion that she is and will have reminded her that finals are not the enemy, finals are where she can thrive.
Serena Williams returns to Title Town. Serena wins her 1st title since 2017, defeating Jessica Pegula 63 64 to win @asbclassic. Serena won her 1st WTA title in February 1999. She’s won her 73rd WTA title in January 2020. Excellence across 4 decades. #ASBClassic pic.twitter.com/0UgWu1pfOI
— WTA Insider (@WTA_insider) January 12, 2020
Of course, a WTA tour-final doesn’t have a record on the line like a Grand Slam final does, however Williams has the experience to be able to transfer over the thought processes anyway.
The proximity of the two competitions increases the chances of that happening too. Right now, Williams’ strategies will be as clear as they can be.
“It is one match for history and the pressure is quite high. I am not in her mind but I can figure she is playing one match for history,” her coach Patrick Mouratoglou exclusively told Sky Sports in September last year when speaking about his charge’s next Grand Slam final.
Mouratoglou: Serena has time on her side
Serena Williams has time “working for her” in pursuit of an elusive 24th Grand Slam singles title, says her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou.
“This is the highest pressure anyone can have in life and on the other side of the court she plays girls who have zero pressure because it is their first final.
“They are going to play many [Grand Slams], they are young, they are excited, enthusiastic so they play without pressure and that makes a big difference. But at some point she will figure out how to deal with that.”
The figuring out process hasn’t been an easy one though, four Grand Slam final losses without taking a set is a tough way to do it. But, those hurtful feelings may now be buried beneath new ones – positive reminders of final flourishes, sparked by getting over the line in a final in Auckland.