“So Many Depths Right Now” – 18-time Grand Slam Champion Reveals Serena Williams’ Successors

Published 11/02/2020, 4:34 AM EST
Tennis – French Open – Roland Garros, Paris, France – September 28, 2020 Serena Williams of the U.S. reacts during her first round match against Kristie Ahn of the U.S. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

With 23 Grand Slam titles under her belt, Serena Williams is the undisputed superwoman of contemporary tennis. However, at 39, she is, by all estimates, nearing the end of her career.

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The question then becomes: who is poised to take her place at the pinnacle of women’s tennis once Serena Williams eventually decides to call it quits?

Tennis legend Chris Evert has identified three young stars who she believes could vie to fill Serena’s big shoes once she steps away from the game. 

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Evert on next Serena Williams in women’s tennis

Evert picked rising Polish star Iga Swiatek, reigning US Open champion Naomi Osaka and teen American starlet Coco Gauff as the ones to fill Serena’s void once she retires.

Currently at 17th in the WTA rankings, Swiatek was crowned the French Open champion this year, her maiden Grand Slam title. 

Evert said she was surprised by the rise of Swiatek as the Pole didn’t impress her much at first glance. With already one WTA singles title under her belt at 16, Evert said she was hopeful that Gauff would iron out her flaws this year and eventually live up to her billing.

 

Speaking at a Eurosport event, Evert said, “I didn’t really notice Swiatek last year as much. She’s got tremendous potential. No doubt about that.”

“Picked Osaka as my future star couple of years ago”: Evert

On the Japanese sensation Osaka, Evert said, “When I was asked to pick out my future star a couple of years ago, I went for Naomi.”

Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Naomi Osaka of Japan hits the ball against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the women’s singles final match on day 13 of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Asked if she still considered Gauff among the rising stars of women’s tennis, Evert said, “I’m still going to go for Coco Gauff to win a lot of titles.”

“I’m a believer in her”: Evert on Coco Gauff

While Siwatek’s stocks have risen significantly since her triumph at Roland Garros, Evert backed Gauff to fine-tune her game and catch up with her peers.

After enjoying a breakthrough year in 2019, Gauff has suffered a dip in form. However, Evert said the teen has plenty of years ahead in the game to work on her chinks and be a giant of women’s tennis.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 16, 2020 Coco Gauff of the U.S. in action during the Women’s doubles Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

I don’t know what’s going on with her service. I mean I know what’s going on with her service, I know she’s doing technically wrong and I think that she’s in her sophomore year on the tour,” Evert said of Gauff.

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 “I think things are a lot different now than they were last year when she could play with a lot of freedom and no pressure,” Evert added.

Now we can tell she’s nervous out there, she’s double-faulting, 16 or 17 times a match. But I still think that in two years’ time, it’s very possible she will win a Grand Slam,” Evert said.

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“I’m a believer in her, her ability and her mindset right now. In saying that, there are so many players, there are so many depths right now that’s incredible, and so many young players are coming up,” Evert said.

As for Serena, she failed in her bid to claim her 24th Grand Slam crown at the Flushing Meadows this year, making an exit at the last-four stage.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

1101 articles

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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