As her 38th birthday approaches, what would be a greater gift to self than achieving her long held ambition of equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam title record? Serena Williams, the 23 Grand Slam winner prepares for another day, another final battle to claim an unprecedented seventh US Open title with a victory in Saturday’s final at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The ace tennis star says her two-year-old daughter Olympia is the reason she has survived and thrived so far. She believes her daughter helped her in prepping for this hunt for what would be a record-breaking 24th Grand Slam title at the US Open before her 38th birthday. She told Sportstar that her on-court strategies, games and excitement are very similar to being a mother of a two-year-old. “Being on the court is almost a little bit more relaxing than hanging out with a two-year-old that’s dragging you everywhere. I think that has kind of been a little helpful,” Williams said. Williams defeated fifth-seeded Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in straight sets 6-3, 6-1 semi-final on Thursday.
Now, if Serena wins the final that would mean breaking Chris Evert’s record of 101 U.S. Open wins, Williams’ record of six U.S. Open title championships, and equalling Margaret Court’s Grand Slam title record. She could also become only the fourth mother in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after Aussies Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Belgium’s Kim Clijsters.
- Serena Williams is one step closer to tying Margaret Court’s record 24 Grand Slam titles
- She beat Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina in 6-3, 6-1 semifinal on Thursday
- As she sails into another Grand Slam final, winning on Saturday would also mean breaking Chris Evert’s record of 101 U.S. Open wins, and her record of six U.S. Open title championships
- She says her two-year-old daughter Olympia is the reason she has survived and thrived so far.
- She could also become only the fourth mother in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam title after Aussies Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley and Belgium’s Kim Clijsters
How motherhood helped
It’s been 20 years since Serena claimed her maiden U.S. Open victory at the age of 17, and now she is running out of records to break. “At 17 I thought for sure I’d be retired at 28, 29, living my life,” said Williams after the semi-final, The Hindu reported.
“The game has just changed, I think there’s so much more depth,” said Williams. “I think when I first started, you could win a lot of easy matches, and then you’re in the quarterfinals, that’s when it starts to get a little more tough.”
It’s been ages since her first victory and a lot had had happened since then. Just two years ago, Williams was fighting for her life with a blood clot in her lung after giving birth to Olympia. She missed out on the chance to equal Australian Court’s record on two occasions since returning from giving birth to her daughter – losing last year’s Wimbledon final and then controversial defeat in the US Open final.
“I think it’s amazing to come back with a baby and win because it’s hard,” Williams said. “My day off isn’t a day off.”
“I’m literally hanging out with baby. I’m doing activities with her. I don’t want her to forget me. I try to spend as much time (as I can) with her. I’m a full-time mom first, foremost. That means the most to me. So I train and then I rush home.
“Being in a Grand Slam is difficult because it takes away a lot of time that we normally have together,” she added.
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Breaking multiple records
Talking about breaking records, Williams would become the oldest women’s champion in Grand Slam history, surpassing the age mark she set in winning the 2017 Australian Open at 35 while pregnant. If she wins the final it would be her 102 US Open match wins, one more than the record 101 she shares with Chris Evert.
Not retiring yet
Williams assured fans that she has no immediate plans to step away from the court. “I definitely would still be playing if I had already passed it. I’ve had so many chances to pass it and (hope) to have a lot more, but it’s cool because I’m playing in an era… five eras with so many amazing players. If you look at the span of the career, the players I’ve played, it’s amazing that I was able to get this many,” she said.
After losing in straight sets at the Wimbledon final to Simona Halep, Williams said she “knew I need to work harder, just do better”.
“I put a lot of time in the gym after Wimbledon, like I said, getting ready for Canada. Yeah, I put a ton of time in. Worked a lot on my fitness,” said Williams. “It always feels good to train without pain.”
Now Canadian teenager Bianca Andreescu run past Belinda Bencic 7-6(3) 7-5 to set up a highly-anticipated final with Serena Williams on Saturday. The teenager has already won titles at Indian Wells and Toronto during her breakout 2019 season. “I don’t know what to say. It is a dream come true to play Serena in the finals of the U.S. Open. It’s crazy,” she told Indian Express.