Former World No. 1 and seven-time Grand Slam champion Justine Henin says the current tennis shutdown may benefit Serena Williams, who is chasing the all-time Grand Slam record of Margaret Court.
Justine Henin says Serena Williams could benefit from the tour shutdown
Speaking on the Tennis Legends show on Eurosport, Henin, who had a 6-8 record on the tour against Serena, says, "Serena [could benefit from the extended break].
It's getting harder and harder but maybe it's an opportunity for her to take a good break and to recover because from the time she became a mum, you know, she didn't really have a good recovery and she started to play quite soon after that.
So, running after the title and playing a few finals of Grand Slams, so it could be an opportunity for her [when tennis returns]." Henin added that women's tennis will be more open as compared to the men when the tennis tour resumes.
“I would say from last year the women's tennis has become again more interesting. I was a bit concerned in the past but we saw different styles coming back on the Tour with Ashleigh Barty, with [Bianca] Andreescu, but I think it's going to be very open, it's not the same situation as on the men's tour for sure."
Serena Williams has won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, the most in the Open Era, and is one title short of Court's record of 24 Slam singles titles (of which 11 came in the Open Era). She has lost the last four finals at the Slams that she has reached after she became a mother.
38 year old Williams is currently ranked No. 9 in the world. She also holds the most Grand Slam titles in singles, doubles, and mixed doubles combined among active players. Her 39 Grand Slam titles put her joint-third on the all-time list and second in the Open Era: 23 in singles, 14 in women's doubles, and two in mixed doubles.
She has been ranked World No. 1 in singles on eight separate occasions between 2002 and 201 - on one of those occasions, she held the ranking for 186 consecutive weeks, tying the record set by Steffi Graf. In total, she has been No. 1 for 319 weeks, which ranks third in the Open Era among female players behind Graf and Martina Navratilova.