The 23-time Major champion Serena Williams had to withdraw from the US Open due to an ongoing injury. The veteran turns 40 this month, and it's hard to imagine her winning the 24th Major crown at the moment after dealing with constant injuries and setbacks.
Serena's coach Patrick Mouratoglou can not tell more about her current state or plans for the rest of the season, not talking with Serena beyond the US Open. Patrick gave his thoughts about Serena's last couple of years, saying he had to deal with numerous traumas and setbacks while seeking that 24th Major crown, cracking under pressure when it mattered the most.
Williams claimed the 23rd Major crown at the Australian Open 2017 and moved one behind Margaret Court. The great American took a break from tennis to give berth to a child later that year, returning to action in 2018. Eager to get back where she belongs, Williams reached four Major finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019, losing them all and failing to match Court's record of 24 Majors.
On top of that, Serena has been dealing with numerous injuries in the last couple of years, as her body failed to follow the will and desire for competition. Following last year's Roland Garros injury, Williams recovered for the Australian Open and chased the eighth Melbourne crown this February.
Delivering her best tennis since returning in 2018, Serena defeated five rivals to reach the semis, including notable victories over Aryna Sabalenka and Simona Halep! Setting eyes on the trophy, Williams faced Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster clash and suffered a tough 6-3, 6-4 defeat.
Patrick Mouratoglou spoke about his pupil Serena Williams.
Serena wasted an early lead in the opener and fell short after staying in touch until 4-4 in the second. With those points, Williams returned into the top-10 for the first time since November and hoped for more chances at Majors in the rest of the season.
Competing in Rome and Parma on clay in back-to-back weeks in May, the American suffered early exits before scoring three wins at Roland Garros to enter the last 16. Elena Rybakina proved to be too strong, and Serena switched focus to her beloved Wimbledon.
In another setback, Williams retired in the opening round against Aliaksandra Sasnovich after only six completed games due to an injury, not playing since then and gathering dark clouds over the rest of the season. "If I knew the secret, I would make it a lot easier for Serena.
But playing for the 24th Major title has been a new pressure altogether; it is one match or set separating you from history. That's the highest pressure possible. Even though these guys are the best in the world to deal with stress, sometimes it gets too much and catches you; sometimes, you get too nervous or too angry because the emotion is too challenging to control.
When it comes to Serena, I think there have been some traumas in the last years - maybe she feels like she can not express herself anymore, and I do not think it's good for her. I think she is good when she is herself. I do not feel like she is authorizing herself to be herself in several moments in big finals, and I think this hurt her.
I do not know about the rest of the season; we did not talk about that. We just talked about the US Open, which was the last goal of the season. First, she has to digest, then we can sit and talk. Today, I'm not certain of anything in one sense or another," Patrick Mouratoglou said.