Can Serena win 24 - should she pursue it?

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Honest opinions, whether you love, hate, or are indifferent towards Serena. I really thought she'd pull-out a post-baby, record-tying 24th Slam at some point (and was rooting for her to do so). But, after today, I don't know. For someone who has been in the final of 3 of the last 6 Slams, it would be ridiculous to say she has no chance. But, the limitations are clear - the movement and the confidence that comes with it to construct points and play defense has substantively regressed. Not just the pure foot speed, but anticipation - she's slow to react. And, she's not getting any younger. Plus, other players have taken note, so the intimidation factor is waning.

Can she have one more in her? If she gets her self in tip top shape - which still wouldn't put her anywhere near her prime movement, but might give her just that little bit extra. Plus, I wouldn't assume all opponents will magically play as well as Halep played today, but you really don't want to rely on your opponent not playing great.

I know many of you don't like Serena, but imagine any player with those strokes, that age, that legacy, those broadening limitations. Just from a tennis perspective, is there a way for her to win Slam No. 24?
 

mightyrick

Legend
I have always liked Serena Williams. But she needs to retire. Her inability to consistently bring a high energy level in finals of slams is bad for the sport. I know she wants the record, but it's enough already.

I'd rather watch a final between two players who really want it badly and are fired up about being there. I have gotten tired of watching Williams show up to finals with "meh" energy and "meh" attitude. You don't get to do that when you are a great champion like her. Think of the sport and hang up your racquet.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I have always liked Serena Williams. But she needs to retire. Her inability to consistently bring a high energy level in finals of slams is bad for the sport. I know she wants the record, but it's enough already.

I'd rather watch a final between two players who really want it badly and are fired up about being there. I have gotten tired of watching Williams show up to finals with "meh" energy and "meh" attitude. You don't get to do that when you are a great champion like her. Think of the sport and hang up your racquet.
I generally agree, but I honestly think the "meh" energy is nerves. Going back to when she lost to Magaruza in the French final, late-career Serena is just much more nervy. Today she just struck me as anxious and largely overwhelmed, even if she'd never admit it. It looks like "meh" energy, but to me she seems like she's seizing up because she doesn't know what to do - which is relatively new for her.
 

Badabing888

Hall of Fame
Age has definitely caught up with Serena. Also not enough matches and yes nerves and wanting the record are weighing on her shoulders. Not sure she should retire as she’s still putting herself in slam finals. But she has been comprehensively outplayed in her last 3.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I hope she is forever stuck at 23 and continues to be annoyed by the fact that a white homophobic Christian mother has more slams than she does.
The history of our sport annoys me greatly for things like this. I hate having to have Bill Tilden as arguably the second greatest player in the history of our sport. But the guy was a disgusting child molester.

Athletics in general tends to have some questionable characters. But athletic sports whose origins come from the recreation of rich men can have especially sordid history.
 

Lozo1016

Semi-Pro
I would like to see Serena play a thicker schedule. I don't believe parachuting out of nowhere to win grand slams is going to cut it anymore. I understand she's battling knicks and bruises, and she's raising a kid now, but I would like to see her play matches. Even at her age, the championship stuff is still inside of her. I'm not saying she should play every event like Tsitsipas or Wozniacki back in the day, but I think match play will help her. I want to see her entering a grand slam tournament in good form, for once.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
I am amazed how utterly atrocious her last 3 slam finals performance were, and each one seemingly is worse than the last. Today was just embarassing, it might be literally the worst tennis match I saw Serena play period, and I have seen some clunkers.

If she is that handcuffed by nerves for major finals she literally cant breathe or grip the racquet, when she already has enough other disadvantages (age, younger players finally coming through) then well it is a tough decision whether to go on or not.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
I hope she is forever stuck at 23 and continues to be annoyed by the fact that a white homophobic Christian mother has more slams than she does.
Serena is a Jehovah witness, arent they also against homosexuality? Regardless I doubt she dislikes Court, I never heard her indicate she does.
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
I am amazed how utterly atrocious her last 3 slam finals performance were, and each one seemingly is worse than the last. Today was just embarassing, it might be literally the worst tennis match I saw Serena play period, and I have seen some clunkers.

If she is that handcuffed by nerves for major finals she literally cant breathe or grip the racquet, when she already has enough other disadvantages (age, younger players finally coming through) then well it is a tough decision whether to go on or not.
Before the final, I could see Halep winning. But, not like this. Serena was awful. As always, a big part of that is her opponent - Halep was fantastic and made Serena press.
 

Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Hard to see how this will be her last chance honestly. She's out of shape and elite movers really expose her own lack of movement badly, but as long as she keeps making finals she only needs to get lucky once. It's not like she's getting stopped by the same ATG talent over and over again.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
Before the final, I could see Halep winning. But, not like this. Serena was awful. As always, a big part of that is her opponent - Halep was fantastic and made Serena press.
From the first point Serena looks flat footed and had no timing. And was not hitting the ball cleanly or properly. Halep played very well, but honestly not amazing, I think she has even played better matches at this Championship. She did not have to.
 

chimneysweep

Semi-Pro
Hard to see how this will be her last chance honestly. She's out of shape and elite movers really expose her own lack of movement badly, but as long as she keeps making finals she only needs to get lucky once. It's not like she's getting stopped by the same ATG talent over and over again.
You are right but the problem is her play in the actual slam finals the last 3 she was in are so terrible, she couldnt beat any competent player. Even some of the worst slam finalists would have likely beaten her. That brings into question if she can ever win a slam final again.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Love her. But Serena should retire before she further embarrasses herself. She has another BIG blowup or two left in her. It's going to happen....the only variable is time. Better leave the game on your own terms and avoid the suspension.
 
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Zardoz7/12

Hall of Fame
Serena is still a top player and look at her schedule it's basically part time yet she's number 9 in the World.

Of course she could win more slams, I see her continuing for another 2 years on this part time schedule, she always does well at the US Open and the crowd will really get behind her come this time around I feel, like a Fed Cup/Davis Cup tie.
 

JMR

Hall of Fame
Hard to see how this will be her last chance honestly. She's out of shape and elite movers really expose her own lack of movement badly, but as long as she keeps making finals she only needs to get lucky once. It's not like she's getting stopped by the same ATG talent over and over again.
Doesn't that make it worse for Serena though? Apparently, any elite WTA player who's on her game can beat Serena in a slam -- and beat her decisively. Look, I like Alison Riske because she hails from my region. But she's not an elite player -- never has been, never will be. Yet a motivated Serena barely battled past her at Wimbledon. In that light, it's not so surprising that Halep dismissed Serena briskly, just as Kerber did here last year. And why shouldn't Serena have to defeat at least ONE top player in order to claim another slam title?
 
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roysid

Hall of Fame
Serena has been close to win in the last few slams but always get cold feet at the final.
Today she missed so many easy shots and couldn't put away one more ball when Halep is out of court.

All she needs is a weak opponent in final. But time is running out. She still has 1 year I believe
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
She basically doesn't play and got to 3 Slam finals in a year anyway. She could win another one or 2 but she seems to not be putting in the off court work like she was before. She looked fitter here but was still exposed again by a much more fit opponent in the final.
 

Mr.Lob

Legend
Wimbledon was only the 6th tournament Serena has played all year. She needs to get out of that panic room and play more tournaments. Drop about 10 pounds, and see a sports psychologist for the choke jobs.
 
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Steve0904

Talk Tennis Guru
Doesn't that make it worse for Serena though? Apparently, any elite WTA player who's on her game can beat Serena in a slam -- and beat her decisively. Look, I like Alison Riske because she hails from my region. But she's not an elite player -- never has been, never will be. Yet a motivated Serena barely battled past her at Wimbledon. In that light, it's not so surprising that Halep dismissed Serena briskly, just as Kerber did here last year. And why shouldn't Serena have to defeat at least ONE top player in order to claim another slam title?

Well, I don't mean this to sound disrespectful, but it is the WTA to put it bluntly. It might be better than the ATP by comparison in terms of young players winning majors and such, but there are no consistent forces that are guaranteed to stop Serena like the Big 3 situation in the ATP. She's played badly in her last 3 chances for sure, no denying that, and I actually favoured Halep to win today based on the movement aspect with Halep being a bad match up for old slow Serena. But Barbara Strycova just made a Wimby SF and she destroyed her. I'm looking at the WTA top 20 right now and I'm thinking Serena is probably favoured to beat at least 10 of them in a Wimbledon Final.

Of course, that's a bit of guesswork, but that's just the way I feel. If she can use the crowd to her advantage in NY who knows what will happen? And she can still win the AO and especially Wimbledon if she sticks around IMO. The only one out of the question is RG.
 

Mainad

Bionic Poster
She probably can still do it but time is fast running out for her. She needs to start playing more run-up tournaments prior to the Slams because she's basically not match fit enough. Soft draws like at Wimbledon this year have not done her any favours when she comes up against a genuine quality player in the final, as we've just seen.

She's now lost her last 3 Slam finals in straight sets and this was her worst showing by far. She really needs to start developing a B game because she clearly cannot rely on her A Game anymore.
 

Fxanimator1

Hall of Fame
She had the easiest draw in history at this tournament, if she couldn’t do it this time, I don’t see it getting any easier.
 
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tennisaddict

Bionic Poster
Serena moves like an elephant. Her serves bail her out every time but Halep returned so well today. Once rallies started, we know the next Serena UFE is coming.

Did Serena make like 50 UFE in 16 games ?
 

Peters

Professional
She can win another 1 or 2 if she can step up her training/tournament schedule all year round. But will/can she commit to that?

Also, she was struggling physically with the longer points. It wasn't nerves that were making her pant heavily, trying to catch her breath after rallies. She needs to overhaul her cardio program, since the younger, fitter top players will just move her around the court every game - a la Kerber, Osaki, Halep - and simply hoover up all the points Serena can't physically cope with. She's been thrashed in 3 slam finals in a row now.

Her unforced errors often came at the end of rallies when she was utterly shagged out, or had to run towards a ball quickly.

She'll carry on blasting most players off the court with her serve/groundstrokes in the build-up to semi-finals/finals, but the few top WTA players will just carry on swatting her aside in the later matches unless she gets fit again.
 

NoleFam

Talk Tennis Guru
Serena probably would have even lost to Strycova today. If she does not perform better in slam finals, it wont matter who she plays.
Basically. The pressure is definitely is getting to her now and she no longer has that steely mentality and focus. Also, the serve has been awol in every one of these finals in the last year. Yes she's not moving as well as she needs to be but a lot of it is mental.
 
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Super_Server

New User
I would like to see Serena play a thicker schedule. I don't believe parachuting out of nowhere to win grand slams is going to cut it anymore.
This spot on for me, she needs to be playing more matches. If she cant commit to it then I dont see it happening for her.

She got to the final with a very lucky draw (only faced one top 20 seed on route) and to beat the best players at the back end of a major championship requires so much more than she can bring to a court at the moment.

The movement is what really worries me the most. There are some really talented women in the game at the moment who can really expose that as Halep did today.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
It's well documented that I don't especially like Serena Williams but I did think she'd win today - perhaps I bought in to the hype as she doesn't appear especially fit and plays so sparingly.
Her much publicised meltdown at the USO was an indication that she's feeling the pressure more BUT more worrying for her fans is her AO loss to Pliskova after a 5-1 final set lead. That does point to, in my opinion, a loss of confidence and a huge gear change to how she used to be.
She may get to 24 with a few more decent draws and a final opponent who plays her reputation not her current ability.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
I hope she is forever stuck at 23 and continues to be annoyed by the fact that a white homophobic Christian mother has more slams than she does.
Doesn't matter whether she makes 24 or not. Her 23 and Steffi's 22 are already greater accomplishment than the inflated 24 from Court. Her 11 AO titles were little more than local (tier 3) tournaments with very small draws with very few non-Aussie players. 2 of them only had draws of 30. She usually only had to play 4 rounds, sometimes 5 rounds (rather than 7 rounds). For some of those titles she exclusively played local (Aussie) players. For other titles, she played only 1 non-Aussie. Her 24 is meaningless compared to the full (usually, 128-player draws) international fields that Steffi and Serena dealt with at the AO.
 
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skyline

Legend
Doesn't matter whether she makes 24 or not. Her 23 and Steffi's 22 are already greater accomplishment than the inflated 24 from Court.
Thank God I didn't have to be the one to say it! Graf's 22, Evert's and Navratilova's 18, and Serena's 23 are ALL greater than Court's 24. Nothing against Court (I don't care that she's homophobic- that kind of stuff would never cloud my assessment of her as a player) but that's reality for all the reasons you've noted.

Serena needs extra slams to put distance between herself and Steffi because the argument that Steffi is the GOAT is still very much alive (not in the media, perhaps, but certainly among tennis fans - and for good reason). Court is irrelevant in all this.

That said, no, she shouldn't play to get to 24. She should play because she enjoys it. But I think it's impossible for her to approach the game in that way.
 
D

Deleted member 293577

Guest
It's hard to discount someone who has reached the finals in 3 of the last 5 grand slams. I think she needs to take it up a notch and play more tournaments and matches. She isn't as feared as she once was. The field has definitely grown stronger. But yes, the answer to the question is yes, she still has the weapons.
 

skyline

Legend
This spot on for me, she needs to be playing more matches. If she cant commit to it then I dont see it happening for her.

She got to the final with a very lucky draw (only faced one top 20 seed on route) and to beat the best players at the back end of a major championship requires so much more than she can bring to a court at the moment.

The movement is what really worries me the most. There are some really talented women in the game at the moment who can really expose that as Halep did today.
The movement is an issue because it impairs her mentally, too. She knows she needs rallies short, so she pulls trigger too quickly many times and slides into UE machine mode.

I completely agree she needs more matches, but I don't think it's a question of commitment - I suspect she's not healthy enough to do much more and is preserving her body for slams.

Also, I really don't know why people keep mentioning her draw. Halep only faced one top 20 seed, too, and it was someone who sucks on grass.
 
I would like to see her playing in the fall.

The gap between Wimbledon and Canada is big and we see a little bit fitter Serena between Wimbledon and French Open. She might shed a weight again a little.
But I don't think her USO chance is big tho she has a chance even in 2020.
 

skyline

Legend
I would like to see her playing in the fall.

The gap between Wimbledon and Canada is big and we see a little bit fitter Serena between Wimbledon and French Open. She might shed a weight again a little.
But I don't think her USO chance is big tho she has a chance even in 2020.
I don’t think she’s going to win USO ever again. Too many good HC-ers.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
The movement is an issue because it impairs her mentally, too. She knows she needs rallies short, so she pulls trigger too quickly many times and slides into UE machine mode.

I completely agree she needs more matches, but I don't think it's a question of commitment - I suspect she's not healthy enough to do much more and is preserving her body for slams.

Also, I really don't know why people keep mentioning her draw. Halep only faced one top 20 seed, too, and it was someone who sucks on grass.
So they both only faced 1 Top 20 player?
That says more about the top players that didn't progress. And the inconsistent WTA Tour.
That said, Halep played like a champion in the final.
 

PDJ

G.O.A.T.
I would add that a few posters have previously held it against Evert that she made 34 major finals and "only" won 18 and Williams was far more successful that once she reached a final (she's had far more earlier exits than Evert) she invariably won it.
Hmmmm... those stats are taking quite a hit....
 

bluetrain4

G.O.A.T.
Thank God I didn't have to be the one to say it! Graf's 22, Evert's and Navratilova's 18, and Serena's 23 are ALL greater than Court's 24. Nothing against Court (I don't care that she's homophobic- that kind of stuff would never cloud my assessment of her as a player) but that's reality for all the reasons you've noted.

Serena needs extra slams to put distance between herself and Steffi because the argument that Steffi is the GOAT is still very much alive (not in the media, perhaps, but certainly among tennis fans - and for good reason). Court is irrelevant in all this.

That said, no, she shouldn't play to get to 24. She should play because she enjoys it. But I think it's impossible for her to approach the game in that way.
That's key. She really doesn't look like she enjoys playing that much. If that's the case, just stop, don't chase 24 just to do it. Serena is already part of GOAT debates; she's comfortably among the greatest who ever played - it's all you can ask since there will never be an official GOAT determination. She's had an incredible career no matter where people rank her.

I'd love for her just to try to have fun with it. Get in tip top shape and give it another year. Make peace with the fact that she may not reach 24, make peace with the fact that she can't will herself to be her 24 year old self again and she can't play like that. Just get in the best shape she can for a 38 year old, play more matches, even if still not a full schedule, and just go out and see what she can do - don't be afraid; don't let losing get her down.

I just want to see her go out with some great performances - win or lose; not playing like she did today.
 

skyline

Legend
So they both only faced 1 Top 20 player?
That says more about the top players that didn't progress. And the inconsistent WTA Tour.
That said, Halep played like a champion in the final.
Yes, both did. And that’s fine, I’m only saying it makes little sense to pick on Serena over the draw, as if her opponent had faced giants on her own way to the final.

Halep played fantastic. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better performance from her tbh.
 

mike danny

Bionic Poster
Yes, both did. And that’s fine, I’m only saying it makes little sense to pick on Serena over the draw, as if her opponent had faced giants on her own way to the final.

Halep played fantastic. I’m not sure I’ve seen a better performance from her tbh.
To be fair, in Simona's draw there were a lot of dangerous floaters, with very good occasional results. Zhang knocked out Garcia and Woz this tournament and she's made a QF in Australia before. She really played a great first set with Simona. Azarenka is usually dangerous (this year more on paper) and also Buzarnescu and Sasnovich have upset other top seeds here in the past. All of them were better than the semifinalist and helped Simona gain confidence and proper match play.

By comparison, Serena only had Riske as more dangerous and Strycova on paper, because in the semifinals she was an error machine. So Serena was really untested up to this point. The predicted tough draw that fell apart actually worked against her.
 
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mike danny

Bionic Poster
Agreed.

Telling that Simona couldn’t battle past her at AO but could here. Playing finals is obviously screwing with her head.
People seem to forget that in Australia Simona was just coming back from a long break( from Sep 2018) due to injury. People keep saying Serena was rusty, but definitely so was Simona and still put up a big fight. I can only guess their next matches will favor Simona.
 
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skyline

Legend
To be fair, in Simona's draw there were a lot of dangerous floaters, with very good occasional results. Zhang knocked out Garcia and Woz this tournament and she's made a QF in Australia before. She really played a great first set with Simona. Azarenka is usually dangerous (this year more on paper) and also Buzarnescu and Sasnovich have upset other top seeds here in the past. All of them were better than the semifinalist and helped Simona gain confidence and proper match play.

By comparison, Serena only had Riske as more dangerous and Strycova on paper, because in the semifinals she was an error machine. So Serena was really untested up to this point. The predicted tough draw that fell apart actually worked against her.
I mean, if we’re talking results, Goerges and CSN have both had superior results to Zhang and Buzarnescu. CSN has played more GS QFs than Zhang.

They weren’t a test for Serena because she has their number, but they’re certainly more accomplished players than Buzarnescu, Zhang or Sasnovich.
 

skyline

Legend
People seem to forget that in Australia Simona was just coming back from a long break( from Sep 2017) due to injury. People keep saying Serena was rusty, but definitely so was Simona and still put up a big fight. I can only guess their next matches will favor Simona.
The long break didn’t stop her from reaching 4R.

I didn’t think either looked rusty. I thought they both played really well and thoroughly enjoyed the match.
 
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