Serena Williams fit and ready for Australia Open

Given Serena Williams’ incredible record of success throughout her career, it’s hard to believe that the 2021 Australian Open will mark four years since she last won a Grand Slam title. A player who was once so ruthless when push comes to shove in a major championship has lost her last four Grand Slam finals, and in 2020 the best result she could muster was a semi-final showing at the US Open.

But with a new year comes a new chance to deliver the goods on the Grand Slam front. There have always been doubts over Williams’ ability to win another Grand Slam title after giving birth to her daughter in 2017, and the medical complications which followed her. Although she missed the following four Grand Slams after winning the 2017 Australian Open, by reaching the final in four Slams since then, she has proved that she certainly has what it takes to win another few big ones.

Although the Australian Open tennis odds are pretty easy to call in the men’s game, the women’s singles event is likely to be much less predictable. Williams is one of a whole host of players who could be in with a shout, and the American recently declared that she is in good shape ahead of the tournament after recovering from an Achilles injury, with the extra time afforded by coronavirus-related delays helping her regain her fitness.

“It was great for me because I needed the time, because I couldn’t practise because of my Achilles,” Williams said. “I don’t think I would have been here if it was during the regular season. I definitely took that time to recover and to just do the best that I can, and now it’s a lot better. Achilles are like the worst thing, honestly. Oh my goodness, I didn’t realise it would be this long. So I definitely was pushing the limits, but I’m here.”

Pushing the limits is something that Williams has built her career on, and one of the main reasons for her unrivalled success in the women’s game is her ability to bounce back from setbacks and bring her game to levels few could ever have imagined. Her tally of 24 Grand Slam titles speaks for itself, and although she has just fallen short in her last four Grand Slam finals, there is no doubt that there is more success waiting to burst out at some stage in the future.

It could well prove that this Australian Open is coming at the perfect time for Williams. Feeling confident and fit after recovering from injury, she’ll take some stopping if she can find her best form in Melbourne. Williams was once a dominant force in the women’s game, and in the time since she took a break to have her daughter, the sport has become incredibly unpredictable. You only need to look at last year’s French Open winner Iga Świątek to know that a Grand Slam winner can come from anywhere.

Williams’ aim this year will be to restore her sense of dominance, and record as many Grand Slam triumphs as she can before she retires. The upcoming Australian Open would be the perfect place to start.



Pete White Pete White

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