'Doesn't have it': Aussie great's brutal truth for Serena Williams

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Serena Williams, pictured here in action against Victoria Azarenka in the US Open semi-finals.
Serena Williams in action against Victoria Azarenka in the US Open semi-finals. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Todd Woodbridge says he can’t see Serena Williams breaking Margaret Court’s all-time grand slam record.

The 38-year-old Williams missed her latest chance to draw even with Court when she crashed out of the US Open in the semi-finals.

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Williams will now head to the French Open (her least successful grand slam) knowing full well her time is running out.

And according to Australian great Woodbridge, Court’s record of 24 slams is safe.

“She's still got the opportunity, she's still going to go after it, but watching over the last few weeks, I don't think she’s going to get there," Woodbridge said on Sports Sunday.

“What's started to happen to the game for Serena, if she can’t belt the opponents off the court and win those points quickly ... she won that first set in great form against Azarenka but once she started to get moving across the baseline, she doesn't have the defence that she used to have.

“She doesn't move quite as well as she used to. Given the age and all of those things that’s to be expected.

“It's going to be really hard. She’s supposed to be going to Paris, I don't know that it's going to happen in Paris for her.

“It's getting harder and harder and probably less likely as each month goes by now.”

Her home grand slam in New York shaped as the perfect opportunity to draw even with Court, with six of the world’s top-10 female players missing.

But it wasn’t to be, with Azarenka falling in the final to Naomi Osaka.

Todd Woodbridge, pictured here with Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 2018.
Todd Woodbridge (L) and Evonne Goolagong Cawley at the National Indigenous Tennis Carnival Launch in 2018. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Serena Williams takes record pursuit to Paris

Williams now has two weeks to shake off the disappointment of her semi-final loss at the US Open and resume her pursuit of a record-equalling 24th grand slam title on the claycourts at Roland Garros.

The American great has been one behind Court's all-time record for over three years, failing to win a major since bagging her 23rd at the Australian Open in January 2017.

The 38-year-old has lost four grand slam finals since returning to the circuit in 2018 following the birth of her daughter.

When asked by a reporter if she felt like her chance to surpass Court was slipping away, Williams was uncertain.

“I don't know. I mean, it's obviously disappointing,” Williams told reporters before confirming she will participate in the French Open.

“At the same time I did what I could today. I feel like other times I've been close and I could have done better. Today I felt like I gave a lot.”

It’s definitely not getting any easier for Williams, who will turn 39 a day before the main draw kicks off in Paris on her least rewarding surface where the American won her third and last title in 2015.

Asked how the string of losses deep in the tournaments affect her morale as she strives to become the most successful women's player, Williams said: “I don't know. I just ... I don't know. I haven’t thought about that actually.”

Serena Williams withdraws from Italian Open

Meanwhile, Williams has withdrawn from the upcoming Italian Open due to an Achilles injury she suffered in her loss to Azarenka.

The four-time champion withdrew from the event in Rome on Saturday, citing the Achilles issue that bothered her in the Flushing Meadows semi-final.

Williams took a medical timeout for a tape job on her Achilles during her three-set loss on Thursday.

“I regretfully must withdraw from the (Italian Open) due to an Achilles strain,” Williams said.

“I'm so humbled by the continuous support from my fans in Rome and I look forward to making my return soon.”

The Italian Open, which was rescheduled from May due to the coronavirus pandemic, begins on Monday.

The clay-court tournament is a warm-up event for the French Open, which starts on September 27.

with agencies