The 23-time Major winner Serena Williams will finish the season ranked outside the top-40 for the first time since 2006, playing only six tournaments in 2021. The American veteran struggled with injuries and finished the season after tearing her hamstring in the Wimbledon first round.
After failing to recover in time, Serena skipped the home Major in New York and decided to wrap up the year and make a fresh start in 2022. Andy Roddick believes that Serena still wants to chase notable titles despite turning 40, reminding she is never satisfied with the quarter-final and semi-final.
Williams claimed the 23rd Major crown at the Australian Open 2017 and moved one behind the all-time leader Margaret Court. The great American took a break from tennis to give berth to a child later that year and returned to action in the spring of 2018.
Keen 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 make an extra step and match Court's record. Serena has been dealing with numerous injuries in the past couple of years, including one at the last year's Roland Garros.
Williams recovered for this year's 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!
Serena Williams will try to win the 24th singles Major in 2022.
Setting eyes on the trophy, Williams faced Naomi Osaka in a blockbuster clash and suffered a tough 6-3, 6-4 defeat. Serena wasted an early lead in the opener and fell short after staying in touch until 4-4 in the second.
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. Elena Rybakina proved to be too strong in the last 16, 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 hoping for a fresh start in 2022. "I assure you Serena would not be sticking around just to be a ceremonial player.
She will not enter events unless she thinks she can still win them; for Serena, reaching the quarter-final or semi-final is not enough. I hope she will be healthy enough to stay competitive. The biggest question for me is if Serena can train hard enough while maintaining health.
I did not make it to the 30s, so I can not imagine what it looks like with a training regime of a world-class athlete in the 40s. It would be great if Serena could fix her serve and the first serve percentage. The difference between the good days and the bad days with her serve is more severe.
If she can start finding rhythm behind the initial shot, she can still get it done, but t's largely unpredictable these days," Andy Roddick said.