The three-time French Open champion Serena Williams turned 39 on Sunday. The 23-time Grand Slam champion will reignite her bid to equal Margaret Court’s tally of 24 major championships. Williams last triumphed at Roland Garros back in 2015, when she defeated Lucie Safarova in the final.
Recently, in an interview, Williams talked about her injury not having healed completely and admitted that athletes have to cope up with not being 100 percent physically. After losing the semifinals of the US Open 2020, Williams backed out of the Italian Open because of a left Achilles tendon injury.
“And the injury? Maybe not perfect, but good to go,” said Williams.
Despite the lingering Achilles strain, Williams will eye a record fourth title at French Open. However, the American arrives in Paris without playing any clay matches prior to the competition.
“I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think I could perform. I’m not at 100 percent physically. But I don’t know any athlete that ever plays physically when they’re feeling perfect. That’s just something I think as athletes we have to play with,” remarked Williams during the interview.
Seeded No.6, Williams will play at Roland Garros for the 18th time and admitted that she didn’t think she would be playing at age 39.
Serena Williams hoping to end Grand Slam drought
Williams has lost in all her four Grand Slam final appearances since returning in 2018 after maternity leave. The former World no.1 hasn’t performed well during the last two years at the French Open, losing in the fourth round in 2018 and in the third round in 2019.
Moreover, the heavier conditions on the court in October will be unfavorable for Williams. The No.6 seed faces fellow American Kristie Ahn in the opening round and might potentially face Victoria Azarenka in the Round-of-16 at the French Open.
Azarenka outlasted Williams in the semifinals of the US Open and eventually lost to Naomi Osaka in the final.