Competing at Roland Garros for the 18th time, the 23-time Major champion Serena Williams opens the campaign against the fellow American Kristie Ahn. Serena, who turns 39 on Saturday, seeks the elusive 24th Major crown that would put her on the level terms with Margaret Court, fighting for the fourth trophy in Paris and the first since 2015.
Just a couple of days after losing the US Open semi-final to Victoria Azarenka, Serena went to France and worked at Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, preparing for the first duties on clay in 2020. After her first practice run at Roland Garros, Serena said she doesn't like the cold weather, coming from California and leaving in Florida, still ready to give her 100%.
Also, the American feels privileged for not being satisfied with the semi-finals, chasing big titles, and always thinking about fighting for the trophies. Seeking the seventh US Open crown, Serena gave her best in the semi-final against her great friend Victoria Azarenka, making a perfect start but suffering a 1-6, 6-3 6-3 loss in an hour and 55 minutes.
It was only the sixth Major semi-final defeat for Serena from 39 she has entered since the first one in 1999, feeling optimistic about her game and deciding to travel to Europe and give it a go on the Parisian clay. Williams claimed the last Major crown so far at the Australian Open 2017, losing all four finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019, still giving her best at the most notable tournaments despite her age.
Serena Williams is seeking the 24th Major title in Paris.
The American had to dig deep in New York a couple of weeks ago, competing without the partisan crowd behind her and finding the top level against every rival to hit the last four.
From the third round, one of the greatest players of all time had to endure tough battles against Sloane Stephens, Maria Sakkari and Tsvetlana Pironkova, prevailing in three sets in each to remain on the title course. Despite an emphatic start against Vika, Serena couldn't stay on that level for the entire clash, losing ground in sets two and three to finish another Major run without the trophy in her hands and hoping to improve that in Paris.
"It's weird; it has always been my home away from home. I always loved being here. It has been different for me staying at a hotel when I'm like, 'Oh, this is what we normally do.' I guess it's a must.
I hate the cold; I'm from Los Angeles, and I live in Florida. For half of my life, I've never seen snow, cold weather and I do not mix. That's my Achilles' heel, but I'm dealing with it. I'm having a positive attitude about it.
I think a semi-final is always great. Is it great for me? Absolutely not. That's how I always feel and I'm happy that I can feel that way. I'm in a position in my career where I cannot be satisfied. I don't want to sit here and say, 'Oh, I'm happy,' because I'm not," Serena Williams said.