Serena Williams
Serena Williams

American tennis star Serena Williams will be the odds on favourite for a fourth French Open title. However, tennis legend Jim Courier believes that that will only happen if she survives until the 3rd round.

This is the 36-year-old’s first Grand Slam tournament since giving birth to daughter Alexis Olympia. Since then, Williams has played only a handful of matches this year.

However, her opening round performance against Kristina Pliskova gave the impression that she hasn’t missed much. Her compatriot Courier is confident that she can only get better.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams

“Look, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone betting against Serena doing the unexpected because she’s done it so often in her career,” Courier said.

“She needs match play for sure but if she gets through the first three rounds and feels good physically and develops a little bit of confidence then she is probably the favourite, because she is Serena.”

The former world number 1 is currently 451st on the WTA rankings. Given her maternity leave, she is playing under a protected ranking. But, she has been classified as unseeded for the French Open. For round 2, she goes up against Australian 17th seed Ashleigh Barty in the second round.

“She will not want to leave early because she loves Paris,” continued Courier, himself a winner in 1991 and 1992.

“It’s hard to say where she is. But she will be ready to fight for it. The draw is tricky but that can play a positive role for Serena because she can’t necessarily just work her way into the tournament the way she could if she had an easy draw.”
If she beats Barty, 11th seed Julia Goerges could be next, and then there is the possibility of a fourth-round clash with twice former champion Maria Sharapova.
“Barty is a tough Aussie and there are a lot of landmines on her road but none of the others will want to come up against her.”

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