Serena Williams' brutal reality ahead of final US Open campaign

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Serena Williams (pictured) during the changeover at the Cincinnati Masters.
Serena Williams (pictured) has been handed a tough draw in her final grand slam tournament at the US Open. (Getty Images)

Serena Williams has learned she will face World No.80 Danka Kovinic in the first round of her farewell grand slam tournament at the US Open.

Williams was placed in the lower half of the draw and facing the World No.80 is seen as favourable by many in what could be the 40-year-old's last match.

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However, things could get difficult quickly for the 23-time grand slam winner if she advances.

Williams faces a potential match-up with second seed Anett Kontaveit in the second round.

She was also placed in the same half of the draw with No.5 seed and Wimbledon finalist Ons Jabeur, No.10 seed Russian Daria Kasatkina and last year's losing finalist Leylah Fernandez.

Williams, who has brought in Aussie Rennae Stubbs into her coaching team, has been training hard on Arthur Ashe Stadium ahead of her final grand slam.

Flushing Meadows will serve as a celebration of Williams' extraordinary career.

And with plenty of hype around Williams' draw, fans reacted to the 40-year-old's rather tough draw.

Top seed and World No.1 Iga Swiatek opens against Italy's Jasmine Paolini and headlines a top half of the draw including American hopes eighth seed Jessica Pegula, 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin, Garbine Muguruza, Jelena Ostapenko and Petra Kvitova.

Britain's Emma Raducanu, who captivated the tennis world last year at Flushing Meadows by going from qualifier to Grand Slam winner, will open her title defence against Alize Cornet.

Serena Williams brings in Rennae Stubbs for US Open

Earlier this month, Williams announced the US Open would be her final tournament in a career that has spanned more than 20 years.

Williams is seeking a record-equalling 24th grand slam title to draw level with Margaret Court's all-time tally.

And in an attempt to finish on a fairytale, Williams has enlisted the help of Aussie tennis great Stubbs.

Stubbs - a four-time grand slam doubles winner - has taken on a role in her coaching team offering advice ahead of the tournament.

Williams announced herself to the world by winning the US Open in 1999 as an 18-year-old, a tournament she would go on to claim five more times.

The 40-year-old also owns 14 women's grand slam doubles titles with older sister Venus and has won four Olympic gold medals - one in singles (2012) and three in doubles (2000, 2008, 2012).

Serena Williams (pictured) leaves centre court at the Cincinnati Masters.
Serena Williams (pictured) will say farewell to tennis after the US Open. (Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)

The US Open is the last opportunity for Williams to equal Court's record, which she addressed in her retirement announcement.

"There are people who say I'm not the GOAT (greatest of all time) because I didn't pass Court's record, which she achieved before the 'Open era' that began in 1968," the former World No.1 said.

"I'd be lying if I said I didn't want that record. Obviously I do. But day to day, I'm really not thinking about her. If I'm in a Slam final, then yes, I'm thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn't help."

with Reuters

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