Sam Stosur says Serena Williams doesn't need to break Margaret Court's record to be the greatest female tennis player of all time.
Serena missed another chance to equal Court's all-time record of 24 grand slam titles when she lost to Naomi Osaka in the Australian Open semi-finals on Thursday.
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The loss means Serena has now gone four years without a grand slam title, her last coming at the 2017 Australian Open when she beat sister Venus in the final while pregnant with her daughter.
Turning 40 this year, fans are growing increasingly worried that Serena won't ever equal Court's record, let alone break it.
But according to Stosur, it doesn't really matter.
The Aussie tennis veteran, who famously beat Serena in the 2011 US Open final for her maiden grand slam triumph, says the American champion is already the GOAT.
Herself closing in on retirement, Stosur doesn't believe Williams needs to catch, or surpass Court's grand slam record to validate her standing as the greatest of all time.
"She's the greatest player anyway," Stosur said on Thursday.
"I think many players would already think that and argue that fact regardless of whether she gets this 24th title or not."
It's not surprising that Stosur doesn't regard Court as the greatest ever, previously speaking out against her views on same-sex marriage.
Stosur, who last year welcomed the birth of her first child with partner Liz Astling, is among those who have called for Tennis Australia to consider changing the name of Margaret Court Arena.
“Even when I was playing there was only a couple (lesbians) there but those couple that lead … took young ones into parties and things,” Court said previously.
“And because they liked to be around heroes and what you get at the top is often what you will get right through that sport.”
Stosur echoes sentiments of Serena Williams' coach
Earlier this week, Serena's coach Patrick Mouratoglou expressed similar thoughts to Stosur, claiming Williams is "not as obsessed" with Court's record.
Since landing major No.23 at Melbourne Park four years ago, Serena has lost four grand slam finals - all in straight sets.
But Mouratoglou says his superstar charge, more relaxed in motherhood, no longer feels a need to validate her place as arguably the greatest player women's tennis has ever seen.
"Clearly she came back to tennis to win some other grand slams, so that's for sure the goal, but now she's not as obsessed with the 24 than most of the people in the tennis world," he said on Monday.
"But definitely she wants to win grand slams. That's the only reason why she came back to tennis."
Serena's long-time mentor is content that the seven-time Australian Open champion's legacy is secure.
"There is tennis before the open era and tennis after the open era. We all know it's two different sports," Mouratoglou said.
"It's an amateur sport and a professional sport. Doesn't make really sense to compare.
"But it's probably fun to talk about beating records, which is something that I understand."
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