Will Serena Williams Ever Win Another Grand Slam?

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Williams has a short but crucial injury history
Serena Williams waving to the crowd after her loss to Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, on Feb 18, 2021.
Photo Credit: AFP

It�s only been four years since her last grand slam title. Perhaps on the verge of retirement, Serena Williams’ toughest match seems to be with Father Time. Will Serena Williams Ever Win Another Grand Slam? Can she keep competing with the next generation of tennis players? The last few years suggest there may be a chance, but a very slim one.

Williams, 39, holds the record for most Major singles titles with 23. She is clearly the GOAT, but she is also slowing down substantially with time. Her first 21 titles came from 1999-2015� since then, she�s won two (2016 Wimbledon and 2017 Australian Open). One could cite her recent dealings with knee and Achilles injuries since 2016, which kept her out from the 2020 French Open until this year�s Australian Open. One could cite her pregnancy, but she won the 2017 Australian Open two months pregnant. While no one wants to count her out, other stars are on the rise who are better than Williams right now.

Williams after a scary ankle injury at the 2013 Australian Open
Photo Credit: Robert Prezioso

Disappointing Defeats

So now the question still remains will Serena Williams ever win another grand slam? Williams’ past four runner-up appearances have been to four different competitors: Angelique Kerber (2018 Wimbledon), Naomi Osaka (2018 US Open), Simona Halep (2019 Wimbledon), and Bianca Andreescu (2019 US Open). Osaka, Halep, and Andreescu are all still younger than 30. Williams most recently lost again to Osaka in the semifinals of the Australian Open 3-6 4-6, keeping her out of yet another major title. It is becoming increasingly apparent that Williams cannot keep up with the next generation.�

Osaka, who defeated Jennifer Brady for the Australian Open title Saturday, is the undisputed best female player right now. She is 12-0 in major finals, semifinals, and quarterfinals. 

If Williams has to face Osaka, Andreescu, or current world number one Ashleigh Barty, it is doubtful she can get past them based on her play these past few years. She is 1-0 vs. the 24-year old Barty all time, but 2-3 vs. Osaka and 0-2 vs. Andreescu.

Next Steps?

In Williams� post-loss press conference on February 17, she was asked if her hand on her heart was saying farewell; in response, she said,

�If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.� Williams would go on to leave the press conference early, emotional, saying, �I�m done.�

Additionally, after her interview, she wrote,

“Today was not ideal outcome or performance, but it happens. I am so honored to be able to play in front of you all. Your support -your cheers, I only wish I could have done better for you today. I am forever in debt and grateful to each and every single one of you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I adore you.”

As we all know by now, Williams is a very emotional person on and off the court. Nevertheless, this interaction begs this question: Could this have been Serena�s last major? Will she return to the big stage? Time and talent are working against her with new, young players on the rise and Williams seemingly into the fall. We all hope that she can win one last Grand Slam before she does retire, but, based on the last few years, years way past her prime, will it happen again?

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