Tennis great's brutal Ash Barty truth bomb for Serena Williams

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Serena Williams and Ash Barty, pictured here in action ahead of the US Open.
Serena Williams and Ash Barty will be among the favourites at the US Open. Image: Getty

Tennis great Tim Henman has questioned whether Serena Williams will ever win another grand slam, saying the younger brigade have well-and-truly overtaken her.

Williams, who turns 40 in September, has been stuck on 23 grand slam titles since she last won a major at the Australian Open in 2017.

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She remains one major title behind Margaret Court's all-time record of 24, but time appears to be running out for Williams to equal that mark.

Williams will make her return at the US Open next week having not played since her heartbreaking injury retirement in the first round at Wimbledon.

But according to Henman, she will be hard-pressed to make her way into contention for the title.

“Going into New York, a big question mark is around her fitness," Henman said this week.

"As has been the case with [Roger] Federer, she’s not getting any younger. 

"So, whereas I did probably have that belief at the beginning of the year, I think it’s a step too far now.”

Henman said the likes of Ash Barty, Naomi Osaka and Aryna Sabalenka have overtaken Williams at the top of the women's game.

“When you look at it, there’s a long list of other great female players. The standard, the quality, the athletic ability of so many of them is just so high and I think the strength and depth of the women’s game is better than it’s ever been," he said.

“You know Serena can absolutely still contend if she’s fit, but do I think she can win another grand slam singles title? Right now I don’t".

Williams has won six of her 23 major singles titles in New York, most recently in 2014. 

Since then she has lost in the semi-finals twice, missed the 2017 edition after giving birth and was runner-up to Osaka in 2018 in a highly-controversial final.

Ash Barty targeting US Open glory amid stellar 2021 season

Barty will head to the US Open after winning her fifth title of the year at the Cincinnati Masters.

The Aussie star will commence her title tilt at Flushing Meadows as a prohibitive favourite, after sweeping to victory in one of the WTA tour's biggest events without dropping a set.

The World No.1's win over the Jil Teichmann in the Cincinnati final was Barty's WTA-leading 40th match win of the year and offered absolutely no encouragement for her US Open rivals.

"I really did hope, and I think that we have certainly had weeks where we have been more flat, weeks where I have struggled physically, mentally," Barty said.

Ash Barty celebrates with the trophy after winning the Cincinnati Masters. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ash Barty celebrates with the trophy after winning the Cincinnati Masters. (Photo by Shelley Lipton/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

"But that's normal, it comes with being a professional athlete.

"It's a bonus that I was able to win Wimbledon, and a bonus now that I get to continue to do what I love.

"And we just keep chipping away, keep trying to get better every single day as a tennis player. If that means more titles, that's great. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

"That doesn't matter for me. Being able to continually self-improve, not just as a person but as an athlete as well.

"That's still my biggest focus and priority."

with AAP

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