LONDON (AFP) – Serena Williams’s place among the legends of tennis is assured but her mission will not be accomplished unless she at least equals Margaret Court’s record haul of 24 Grand Slam singles titles.
The 37-year-old American gets a third chance in a year to go level with the controversial Australian when she plays another former world number one Simona Halep in the Wimbledon final on Saturday.
Aside from the one-on-one rivalry on court, both women have a member of the royal family rooting for them –Williams’s friend Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, and Halep favouring Kate, Duchess of Cambridge.
Williams will hope for a happier ending than being out-played both by Angelique Kerber in last year’s Wimbledon final and Naomi Osaka in the US Open final where a spectacular meltdown torpedoed her cause, leading her to eventually consult a therapist.
Williams claimed after her semi-final romp over unseeded Czech Barbora Strycova that the Court landmark is not on her mind.
“I thought about it this morning,” she said.
“I actually didn’t think about it since because it’s really not about 24 or 23 or 25. It’s really just about going out there and giving my best effort no matter what. No matter what I do, I will always have a great career. I just kind of let it go this morning. I feel really calm about it.”