Tennis legend Martina Navratilova has shared her thoughts on Serena Williams’ failure to end her trophy drought in Grand Slams at the Australian Open.
The 23-time Grand Slam champion was sent packing by World Number 3 Naomi Osaka in the semifinals on Thursday.
The defeat has extended her agonizing wait for a record 24th Major title and failure to land Grand Slam glory since the 2017 Australian Open.
Dwelling on Serena’s loss and her tearful exit from the post-match press conference, Navratilova, who finished with 18 career Grand Slam titles against her name, said the 39-year-old was disappointed at not being able to bring her best tennis to the park when it mattered.
Appearing on a show on Tennis Channel, the former champion said, “I think she was just disappointed that she did not play her best tennis when she wanted it the most.”
The stalwart said Serena did the hard yards in training and “gave everything she had” in the tournament to still finish on the losing side, which is what has left her gutted in the end.
Giving her take on Serena’s overall performance at this year’s Australian Open, Navratilova said the American was “moving well” and everything seemed to be “cooking” well for her but “she just couldn’t get it done”.
The legend said Serena was “too passive” and was probably bothered by an attack of nerves in the last-four clash which affected her movement and forced her into errors she wouldn’t otherwise commit.
She said the thought of equaling the legendary Margaret Court’s record career haul of Grand Slam could also have impeded her naturally aggressive style of play in the key clash.
“Maybe she wants it too badly,” Navratilova quipped.
On what the 39-year-old should do to get over the line and reach her career milestone, the nine-time Wimbledon champion said she just has to keep putting herself in a position to win Grand Slams and hope for one big push at the business end.
The veteran did show early promise in the last-four battle, getting a break of serve in the opening, but couldn’t sustain the momentum as Osaka raised her game.