Martina Navratilova recalls Serena Williams' first Grand Slam triumph



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Martina Navratilova recalls Serena Williams' first Grand Slam triumph

Martina Navratilova thinks Serena Williams played with a "freewheeling attitude" during the 1999 US Open and it led her to the Promised Land. In 1999, a 17-year-old Williams captured her first Grand Slam title after beating the likes of Kim Clijsters, Conchita Martinez, Monica Seles, Lindsay Davenport and Martina Hingis.

It was quite a run for Williams, who saw off Hingis in straight sets in the final. "It would have been a great run for Serena, but she was unseeded and smashed through the field. She was probably slightly underestimated, unknown at the time to some people.

And of course, no pressure. Playing with a freewheeling attitude, like [Emma] Raducanu last year at the US Open. She came of age. It’s the same as other sports -- you improve a little bit, and then you make a big jump. And then you improve a little bit, and you make another big jump.

That second big jump came for Serena at the US Open," Navratilova told the WTA website.

Navratilova on Williams' longevity

Williams finished her career with 23 Grand Slam titles. Williams' final Grand Slam title came in 2017, when she made it all the way at the Australian Open.

Williams was winning Grand Slams for 18 years and Navratilova was asked what does that stat say about the American. "She’s got an amazing body that’s very, very strong. And she worked hard to improve on that body.

Obviously, these days the training and recovery is so much more sophisticated than it was in my day. It’s easier for players to have that longevity. But surfaces are still hard and everybody’s hitting the ball hard.

Serena hasn’t played as many matches as we did, but she paced herself really well," Navratilova explained. Williams had a good chance to tie or break Margaret Court's record of 24 Grand Slams. Williams appeared in four more Grand Slam finals after the 2017 Australian Open, but each time ended on the losing side.