Dealing with injuries, Serena Williams played just a Major quarter-final in 2021. She came to the start of the season in Melbourne, when Serena won another Major record. Williams reached the first Grand Slams quarter-final at the 1999 US Open just before her 18th birthday, and made her way to the finish to lift her first Major title.
More than two decades later, the American was still among the best players in the world in early 2021, proudly owning 23 Major trophies and doing her best to secure the elusive 24. Seeking her first Major title in four years, Serena advanced to her thirteenth quarter-final of the Australian Open.
Thus, Williams achieved another Major milestone, joining Chris Evert in 54 Major quarterfinals and leaving Martina Navratilova with 53. Serena lost just one set in the first four meetings in Melbourne, beating Laura Siegemund, Nina Stojanovic, Anastasia Potapova and the seventh-seeded.
Aryna Sabalenka on her way to the round of 16 and another important achievement. Serena edged out a Sabalenka 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes, reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals precisely 20 years after the first.
Williams shot 30 winners and 26 unforced errors to beat the Belarusian and overcome the first serious hurdle in Melbourne. Rafael Nadal, who recently made his comeback after a foot injury sidelined him since August, suffered a setback with his own COVID-19 diagnosis.
The Spaniard competed at the 2021 Mubadala World Tennis Championship from 16-18 December.
Nadal managed to win 20 Grand Slams
Playtomic held the Padel Awards for the world of Padel tennis recently. The star guest for the awards was former Spanish tennis player Alex Corretja.
“Do you think Rafael Nadal can go back to being the one he was before his last injury?” Corretja was asked. To this, the 47-year-old replied, “Rafa will retire being a winner, whatever happens”. He talked about what Nadal must do, going forward.
“He has to assess how he wants to face what he has left from now on,” Corretja said. It is no secret that Rafa Nadal is in the twilight of his career. Corretja talks of how there might be another Grand Slam victory in the cards for the Spaniard.
“I trust that there is still that great title to celebrate with him. A great title I mean a Grand Slam,” he predicts. Furthermore, on the question of returning to the No. 1 rank, Corretja believes it is no longer a coveted feat for Rafael Nadal. “He (Nadal) has already been number 1 many times, it does not matter, and that is secondary,” he said.