Tue, 26 Mar, 2019
Could this be the end for Serena Williams?
The future of Serena Williams’ tennis career is in the clouds as reports claim that insiders are doubting the 23-time grand slam champion.
Despite remaining the most feared player in the women’s game, the 37-year-old has had a string of failures lately after being unable to reach the historic haul of 24 major titles since the birth of her first child, Alexis Olympia.
Her Australian Open victory in 2017 was followed by a temporary retirement announcement as she prepared for the birth of her daughter.
And while she’s come close to obtaining titles since her return, her inability to do so has been blamed on her absence, which is said to have created a period of unprecedented unpredictability.
The tennis legend has returned to the WTA Tour full time, but regardless, in 2019, 13 WTA tournaments have been won by 13 different players – none of them being Williams.
And her performance has not gone by unnoticed according to The Times’ Stuart Fraser.
The report alleges that many important figures in the tennis world have responded saying “the end of Williams’ domination” after they were questioned over the unpredictability of women’s matches.
“The women’s game has been pretty open for a while since Serena had her child,” said Nigel Sears, a veteran coach on the WTA Tour.
“Serena was the last one to dominate. Beneath her it was becoming more and more competitive. It is wide open now. Anyone can win this tournament.
“The overall depth in the women’s game has improved considerably. The quality goes deeper than it had done before. The seeds used to dominate the early rounds until fairly recently. Now it is really, really competitive.
“Some of the older players are playing better for longer and they are fitter. On top of that, you have the influx of youngsters, a new brand of players coming through. It has toughened up both sides.”
After a number of underwhelming performances, it seems as if Williams' body is starting to act like one of a 38-year-old who just recently had a child.
At the Miami Open and Indian Wells, the once world No. 1 was forced to retire on both occasions.
According to the mother-of-one, she was forced to drop out of the competition due to an undisclosed knee injury.
The decision came as a surprise to many, as a day earlier, she showed no signs of an injury during a stunning win against Rebecca Peterson, 6-3, 1-6, 6-1.
During a news conference after the match, Williams made no mention of the injury, and the WTA had no information regarding when she was hurt.
Her time at the tournament last year was also short-lived after her defeat against Naomi Osaka. Friday marked Williams’ first match after she retired at Indian Wells two weeks ago due to a viral illness.
The American has only played eight matches this year and has failed to bring home a win since the 2017 Australian Open.
The win on Friday was her first in Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins. If she chose not to retire, she would have faced No. 18-seeded Qiang Wang.
“I am disappointed to withdraw,” said Williams in a statement.
“It was an amazing experience to play at Hard Rock Stadium this year, and I would like to thank the Miami Open for putting on an amazing event. I hope to be back next year to play at this one-of-a-kind tournament in front of the incredible fans here in Miami.”
Do you think this is the end for Serena Williams? Let us know in the comments below.