The 23-time Major champion Serena Williams had a lot of thinking before entering two New York events in the next three weeks. World no. 9 will compete in Cincinnati and the US Open, without the crowd at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center and following strict healthy measures following the coronavirus pandemic.
Serena had spent five weeks at home with her family between March and August, not wanting to risk anything after health issues she had in the past. Straying in a private home with her husband and daughter, Serena takes all the health measures implemented by the organizers in New York, trying to focus on tennis as much as possible.
Williams will use Cincinnati to shape her game and make the best preparation ahead of the second Major of the season that will take place on the same site, seeking that elusive 24th title and the first since the Australian Open 2017.
Serena Williams believs the US Open is still strong event.
In her previous three tournaments this season, Serena won the title in Auckland before experiencing the Australian Open's third-round exit. Returning to actin two weeks ago in Lexington, Williams came from a set down against Bernarda Pera and her sister Venus to reach the quarters, losing to Shelby Rogers 1-6, 6-4, 7-6 after a great battle.
Serena will face Arantxa Rus or Alison Van Uytvanck in Cincinnati's first match, hoping for a strong start and seeking the fourth crown at this event. Williams was the finalist at the US Open in the previous two years, suffering defeats against young guns Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu, hoping to chase the first crown since 2014, and the seventh overall.
Asked about the fact that six top-8 stars are not in the draw, Serena said it is still a tough tournament to win, especially in these circumstances and the entire year that deserves an asterisk. "I don't know; I don't really think about it too much.
I feel like I'm here with many other players, while there is a tremendous amount of people that aren't here as well. It still has to be tennis that's played, asterisks or not. I think this whole year deserves an asterisk because it's such a special year, the history we have never been through in this world, to be honest, not this generation, not this lifetime.
It's just in history, period. I think we are living a future history lesson. And if you win, it was, like, I was able to succeed in this crazy circumstance where there were no fans. It was just so sterile and weird. But I mentally came through; it might be a more mental test than anything. It's interesting, and we will see," Serena Williams said.