“Can Be Very Dangerous on Clay”: Patrick Mouratoglou Talks Up Serena Williams’ French Open 2021 Chances

Published 04/02/2021, 5:23 AM EDT
Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Serena Williams of the U.S. in action during her semi final match against Japan’s Naomi Osaka REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake


Serena Williams left Melbourne Park with a somber wave after another Grand Slam campaign came to a tearful end. The last-four finish prolonged her agonizing wait for a 24th career title that would equal Margaret Court’s all-time tally.

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However, the French Open, which opens in May, presents another chance to the 39-year-old American to have another crack at the elusive landmark of 24 Grand Slam titles. Her long-time coach Patrick Mouratoglou is confident that she will finally get the monkey off her back at Roland-Garros.

Patrick Mouratoglou says if Serena Williams stays fighting fit, she can win the French Open

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A three-time champion at the tournament, Serena withdrew from the French Open with an Achilles tendon injury last year after her opening round victory over compatriot Kristie Ahn.

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 18, 2021 Japan’s Naomi Osaka with Serena Williams of the U.S. after winning their semi final match REUTERS/Kelly Defina

Though she will be carrying the scars from her semi-final defeat to eventual Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka to the Roland-Garros, Mouratoglou believes she can be “very good” on clay if she can hold her fitness and shape.

‘The Coach’ added that merely trusting one’s serve doesn’t work on the slow clay surfaces at the French Open, as one has to do more running around to win points.

“…she just has to be really very fit because on clay the serve is not as efficient and you have to work much more. Every rally is a fight,” Mouratoglou said.

He added that if Serena comes into the event minus fitness concerns, she can go all the way. “I feel if she’s really, really ready, physically 100 per cent, then she can be very dangerous on clay as well,” he added.

Mouratoglou says the coaching team needs to focus on Serena’s fitness going into French Open

‘The Coach’ revealed that the champion was bitterly disappointed to have lost the Osaka clash at the Australian Open as she was in great shape and was “ready to win it”.

He added that it is the fitness aspect that he and the rest of her coaching and training unit would have to focus on, going into the French Open.

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“…so this is something that we definitely want to keep and improve because it’s a key, and it’s going to be even more a key on clay,” Mouratoglou said.

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Reflecting on her loss to Osaka, the coach said that Serena went into the clash on the back of dominant wins and was determined to continue in that vein but wasn’t at her best “by far” in the match.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

748 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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