Nerves could jinx Ser­ena’s record Slam bid: Court

The Hitavada - - SPORTS -

AUS­TRALIAN great Mar­garet Court has pre­dicted nerves could un­der­mine Ser­ena Wil­liams’ bid to match her record 24 sin­gles ma­jors at Mel­bourne Park, clear­ing the way for an out­sider to snatch the ti­tle.

She dis­puted the book­ies’ as­sess­ment that Ser­ena is red-hot favourite to lift the Aus­tralian Open tro­phy for an eighth time, tak­ing her over­all Grand Slam tally to 24 and equalling Court’s mark.

“I think it’s pos­si­ble for Ser­ena to equal me, if any­body’s gonna do it, it’s Ser­ena, but I don’t think there’s a clear-cut favourite,” Court told Mel­bourne’s Her­ald Sun news­pa­per Sun­day.

“I think it’s a pretty open tour­na­ment and I think an out­sider can win it.” Wil­liams, 37, has won 23 sin­gles Grand Slams since 1999 — seven Aus­tralian Opens, three French Opens, seven Wim­ble­dons and six US Opens.

Court, now 76, won 24 sin­gles Grand Slams from 1960-73 — 11 Aus­tralian Opens, five French Opens, three Wim­ble­dons and five US Opens.

How­ever, 13 of Court’s ti­tles came be­fore 1968, when the women’s game en­tered the Open era and be­came fully pro­fes­sional.

For that rea­son many pun­dits, in­clud­ing 18-time Slam cham­pion Chris Evert, be­lieve Wil­liams is al­ready the great­est of all time.

An­other win at Mel­bourne Park would set­tle the ar­gu­ment once and for all, but Court said the Amer­i­can no longer had the fear­less­ness of youth on her side.


Ser­ena Wil­liams hits a re­turn dur­ing a prac­tice ses­sion in Mel­bourne ahead of the Aus­tralian Open ten­nis tour­na­ment.

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