Serena Williams lifts the Australian Open trophy in 2017. Now she is back looking for a record-equalling 24th Slam
10 January, 2019, 18:53
The last eight Grand Slam titles have been won by different players and the women's game is searching for a player to sustain dominance as Serena Williams has done in the past.
Serena Williams' road to her record-tying Grand Slam championship could have to go through Naomi Osaka.
The Romanian bounced back from losing to Wozniacki in an epic Melbourne final 12 months ago to claim her own maiden Slam at Roland Garros and climb back to number one despite a nagging back injury that forced the 27-year-old to miss the WTA Finals in Singapore.
Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer loom over Melbourne Park for the year's opening grand slam as favourites for the Australian Open as questions remain as to whether one of Generation Next could finally end their stranglehold. "The women have to think she was 60-70 per cent past year reaching when two finals".
Caroline Wozniacki is also looking to defend her title after winning her first career major at this event past year.
"When you have a target on your back it's not easy because everyone wants to play their best against you and beat you", she said.
A second Australian Open title will be a flawless birthday gift for world number two Angelique Kerber, who turns 31 in the first week of the tournament. Combined with the pressure of becoming the first Japanese player to win a major, and the fanatical support that brings, there were fears she could wilt under the spotlight. "I never feel pressure to perform". Wozniacki proved she can still compete by winning in Beijing in October but whether she can cope with the gruelling two-week slog of a Grand Slam remains to be seen, and she was bundled out of the Auckland Classic last week in round two.
"I think she's fresh that's one thing, but everyone else is fresh too", said Evert. In that match, Williams infamously got into a verbal argument with umpire Carlos Ramos over his calls and his biases, while Osaka, a worthy champion, was booed and reduced to tears at the podium when she accepted the title.
On the women's side, Serena Williams has her sights set on a record-tying 24th career Grand Slam. Her experiences have been a learning experience for me.
Williams trails only Margaret Court in that category, and she came painfully close to tying her record previous year in at Wimbledon and the US Open, losing in the final of both events to Angelique Kerber and Naomi Osaka, respectively. "I always have insane big goals but I like to keep them to myself".
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