Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Serena Williams will return to action next month at the Australian Open 2018. The American veteran skipped the entire year after she won the Australian open in 2017, to give birth to her first child. At the age of 36, Serena Williams still has the drive and desire to play competitive tennis at the highest levels. However, it will be interesting to see how she performs, having had no match practice whatsoever. She joins an illustrious list of players, who continued playing after entering into parenthood. In the wake of her return, we look at the possible records that she can go on to shatter in the year of 2018. Although it is too early to talk about her entire year, it is entirely possible that she can go on and have a fruitful year. The return of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after injury breaks showed us that age is just another number when it comes to the great players. We look at the possible records that Serena Williams can go on and shatter, during her comeback year.

Potential records in sight at the Australian open

The Australian open will begin in the midst of January, and Serena Williams will be eager to defend her title there and the results at the Australian open will set the course for the rest of her year. Margaret Court holds the record for the most number of grand slam singles titles in the open era, winning 24 singles trophies. Serena Williams could go on to topple her record. Serena has won 23 singles titles at the slams, and will equal Margaret Court’s tally, if she goes on to win the Australian open. Many greats of the sport have backed Serena to win multiple titles after her return.

“I think she will. I hope so because she’s got so much talent and so much in her to win more tournaments”, said Australian legend Cawley in an interview with the AAP. Serena Williams will hold the record for the oldest mother to win a grand slam trophy at the age of 36, if she goes on to win the Australian open. None other than Margaret Court, who won the Australian open at the age of 31 in 1973, holds the record. Serena has won 316 matches when it comes to the grand slams. She holds the record for the most number of grand slam matches won by a female tennis player (Navratilova-306, Chris Evert -299). In fact, only Roger Federer has more wins than she does in grand slam matches- a record he established after he beat Mischa Zverev in the third round of the Wimbledon earlier this year.

Serena Williams could join an illustrious list

Serena Williams will become only the fourth woman to win a grand slam title, after parenthood. Only three players- Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Kim Clijsters and Margaret Court have managed to win a grand slam title after becoming mothers. Steffi Graf, whose record Serena surpassed earlier this year, believes she can go on and join that list. “Absolutely, yes”, she said, “I think a lot of it is determined on her drive and if that is what she wants to do. It sounds from what I hear that she is looking to come back to tennis and, you know, everything that she has shown over her career just makes you believe that if she has that in her sights then she will go after it and achieve it.”

Steffi Graf is just one of the many legends of the sport that have backed Serena Williams to go on and win multiple titles. Margaret Court also backs Serena Williams to go on and break her record of grand slam tally. “Records are there to be broken and if somebody is good enough to do that then you are there to congratulate them,’’ Court said. “I think she took three months off; she hadn’t really played a tournament until now. We could never do any of that, we played week in, week out, singles, doubles and mixed”, she added.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams could return to world number if she puts up a decent performance at the AO

The latter half of 2018

Serena Williams could also go on and surpass Steffi Graf’s record of seven Wimbledon titles. She is currently tied at the second place, for the most number of singles titles won at the Wimbledon by a female athlete. Only Navratilova holds more titles than her (9). Wimbledon has always been a happy hunting ground for her, where she has won both singes and double titles. Similarly, she could go on to break the record for the most number of singles titles at the US open in the open era. She has won six titles at the flushing meadows, and is currently tied with Chris Evert, for the most number of US open singles titles. There are many other records she can go on to shatter, with many ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’. She could go on and break the record for winning all the four slams in a year for a record third time. Currently she is tied with Steffi Graph, who also won all the four slams of the year twice in her career.

It sure promises to be an exciting year for the American as she prepares for the heat down under. With the players over 30 waving their magic wands again, Serena Williams will hope to weave her magic in a similar fashion to that of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal in the year of 2018. Serena Williams has dropped to world no. 21, and will be looking to reclaim the top spot from Simona Halep, who was crowned the year-end-world-no.1, earlier this year.

However, that will be the least of her concerns, as she looks to get through the early rounds of the Australian open. Having said that, she faces stiff competition at the AO, with the likes of Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenaka also returning to action. As the AO draws are decided, fans will cross their fingers, and hope that yet another year of vintage tennis awaits them. Another year of high-octane tennis lies ahead of us with the likes of Novak Djokovic , Andy Muray and Stan Wawrinka also returning to action after their respective injury breaks.

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