Can Simona Halep Surpass Venus and Serena Williams in an Incredible Clay Court Record in 2021?

Published 04/10/2021, 7:00 AM EDT
Romania’s Simona Halep reacts during her fourth round match against Poland’s Iga Swiatek REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

The women’s clay court tennis season has already arrived with some of the top names in the circuit battling for glory at WTA Charleston in the US and another event that is unfolding simultaneously in the Colombian capital Bogota. However, the three top names missing in action at these events are Serena Williams, her elder sister Venus Williams and Romanian Simona Halep.


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At 9 titles each, Simona Halep and Venus Williams aren’t far behind Serena Williams

The World Number 3 had a rewarding 2020 season on clay, winning two titles, reaching the quarters at Roland-Garros, and going unbeaten for 17 matches. Though unlike her career Grand Slam tally of 23 titles, which is head and shoulders above the rest in the field, Serena isn’t as far ahead on clay with 13 Tour titles. Halep and Venus trail at No.2 with nine titles each.


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However, with another fruitful season on the soil, the 29-year-old Romanian could go past the Williams sisters and set her own mark.

Serena, who is just one title short of equaling Margaret Court’s career haul of 24 Grand Slam titles, hasn’t featured in any Tour events since her heartbreaking semifinal loss at this year’s Australian Open.

Venus, who is still going great guns at the age of 40, couldn’t clear the qualifiers for the Miami Open after falling in the second round at Melbourne Park. 

Simona Halep withdraws from Miami Open with an injury

As for Halep, the two-time Grand Slam champion won a tricky second-round tie at Miami before withdrawing from the event with an injury. With five more events to go in the clay cycle before action shifts to Roland-Garros, the moot question on the minds of tennis fans is can three champions of women’s tennis add more shine to their glittering track record on this surface.

The events yet to be played on the clay court swing are the Kunming Open in China (postponed), Musc Health Women’s Open at Charleston, Porsche Tennis Grand Prix at Stuttgart, Germany, TEB BNP Paribas Tennis Championship in Istanbul and the Mutua Madrid Open.

While she hasn’t confirmed her return for the clay court leg yet, one would assume Serena will play at least a couple of these events to build a measure of momentum ahead of the French Open.

Serena Williams of the United States is congratulated by her sister and opponent Venus Williams of the United States following their ladies singles third round match on Day Five of the 2018 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

With the 39-year-old falling shy of Court’s mark yet again, it is a given that she will have a crack at the landmark again at Roland-Garros.


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A couple more titles on clay will not only help her pull further away from the rest in terms of career tally, but also give her a good head of steam going into the French Open.

At her age, Venus might struggle to add to her clay court titles even if she plays all these events.


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Though Halep hasn’t confirmed her return post-Miami, she’s been ranked No.1 in the WTA clay court power index and will fancy picking up some more titles, if fit, and possibly upstage the Williams sisters on this surface.


Priyabrata Chowdhury

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Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.



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