Serena to play fewer events
MELBOURNE // Serena Williams plans to play fewer tournaments in the future to aid her quest to win more grand slam titles, according to coach Patrick Mouratoglou. The American, 35, won her 23rd grand slam title on Saturday at the Australian Open, breaking the open-era record she held jointly with Germany’s Steffi Graf. Williams will now manage her schedule as she chases down the all-time leader Margaret Court, the Australian whose record of 24 grand slam titles straddled the amateur and professional eras.
Williams played just eight events in 2016 and did not play after September following her exit from the semi-finals of the US Open.
“Mentally she has to stay fresh and mentally excited when the grand slams start, because they are the goal,” Mouratoglou said after Serena’s 6-4, 6-4 victory over her sister Venus gave her a seventh Australian Open title. “So we have a lighter schedule.”
At one stage in 2016, Williams held the world No 1 ranking based only on seven events over a 52-week period.
Germany’s Angelique Kerber overtook her when she won the US Open last September but Williams will return to top spot when the rankings are updated today.
Williams has traditionally played fewer tournaments than most top players, but since she usually reaches the final, she is able to pick and choose. “We’ve already done the schedule for the whole year,” Mouratoglou said. “It doesn’t mean that the schedule is not going to change, it’s meant to adapt to situations. But generally speaking it’s already set.”
Mouratoglou added that Williams would not obsess over the record of 24 held by Court.
“With respect to Margaret, it was another era and they were not professionals,” he said. “The record is here and we want to beat it, but there was a professional era and the record was Steffi Graf.”