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Mouratoglou: Serena Williams must make changes to beat Slam record

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As her wait for a 24th grand slam singles title goes on, Serena Williams has been urged to alter her strategy by coach Patrick Mouratoglou. Serena Williams must make changes to her game, strategy and goals if she is to achieve her ambition of breaking the all-time grand slam singles record, says her coach Patrick Mouratoglou.

 

 

A shock third-round Australian Open defeat to Wang Qiang ended the 38-year-old’s most recent attempt to equal Margaret Court’s mark of 24 major singles titles in the open era.

Williams has lost four grand slam finals, two at Wimbledon and another two at the US Open, since her return to the WTA Tour after giving birth to her daughter in 2017.

Serena Williams and coach

After the American called her performance “unprofessional” in the loss to Wang in Melbourne, Mouratoglou outlined the state of play, with the French Open her next opportunity in May.

“We have to accept the fact that it is not working,” Mouratoglou said to BBC Sport. “Maybe come back with a different angle, a different strategy and different goals so she can make it.

“She does feel positive, she feels negative too because it is a failure when she doesn’t win a grand slam. We didn’t expect at all to be losing so early, or to be losing at all.

“We have to face reality, but she is positive that she can make it otherwise she probably wouldn’t be on a tennis court anymore.

“She’s not that far away, but we have to change a few things. Her level is good enough, but we have to understand what is going on. There is a big difference between reaching a final and winning one.”

Serena “running out of chances” to claim all-time record

Williams went into the Australian Open as many people’s favourite to win the tournament but, despite another setback, Mouratoglou insisted her fire was still there, though was reluctant to put a timescale on how long she will keep pursuing the record.

He added: “It’s difficult to know how many chances she will have. I don’t know how long she is going to be able to play but being able to reach four grand slam finals says a lot about her level.

“She had everything to retire, 23 grand slam titles. But she decided to make all the efforts, the physical efforts, the mental efforts, to come back to the game, with the goal to score more grand slams and beat the all-time record.”

Williams, who won her first WTA title for three years in Auckland last month, is in the United States’ Fed Cup team to face Latvia this week as part of a star-studded line-up that also contains Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin and teenage sensation Coco Gauff.

“We Have to Face Reality” – Serena Williams’ Coach Accepts Things Aren’t Going in The Right Direction

Serena Williams

Over the past two years, Serena Williams has been falling short by two sets from pulling off her 24th Slam title. Her coach Patrick Mouratoglou believes that there are changes that are to be incorporated in Serena’s training regime. Recently in an interview with BBC Sport, he clarified that things are not falling in place.

“We have to accept the fact that it is not working. Maybe come back with a different angle, a different strategy, and different goals so she can make it. She does feel positive, she feels negative too because it is a failure when she doesn’t win a Grand Slam,” said Mouratoglou, who also guides Stefanos Tsitispas and Coco Gauff.

“We have to face reality, but she is positive that she can make it otherwise she probably wouldn’t be on a tennis court anymore. She believes she can make it and I believe it too. She’s not that far, but we have to change a few things,” he added.

At Australian Open 2020, Williams lost in the third round to China’s Wang Qiang, and her defeat was completely an unexpected one. It was her earliest exit from the Melbourne tournament since the year 2006.

Serena Williams and Patrick

“Serena Williams had everything to retire” – Patrick Mouratoglou

The 38-year-old Serena Williams is undoubtedly one of the oldest tennis players on the WTA Tour. After her 23rd Slam win in Melbourne, she could have called off her career. Instead, she decided to take that extra mile and return to the professional circuit after her maternity hiatus.

“She had everything to retire, 23 Grand Slam titles. But she decided to come back, she decided to make all the efforts, the physical efforts, the mental efforts, to come back to the game, with the goal to score more Grand Slams and beat the all-time record,” he said.

Since her comeback in the year 2018, Williams’ reached four Grand Slam finals. Which also includes her 20-match winning streak at Wimbledon. Both Williams and Mouratoglou are figuring out ways to win two sets in a Grand Slam final.

In general, Serena is playing a good level of tennis. But maybe some kind of nervousness stops her from giving her best during major finals. Her coach believes that she will add Slams to her name.

Patrick and Serena Williams

“She’s not that far” – Mouratoglou

Irrespective of what the critics and other tennis pundits say, Williams will hang her racquets with the highest number of Grand Slam titles.

“It’s difficult to know how many chances she will have, I don’t know how long she is going to be able to play, but being able to reach four Grand Slam finals says a lot about her level, and she’s not that far. Her level is good enough but we have to understand what is going on and why she is not able to win one. There is a big difference between reaching a final and winning one,” Mouratoglou concluded.

At Auckland Open 2020, Serena Williams won her first title since January 2017. Also, it was her maiden title as a mother. At present, she has one Grand Slam less than Margaret Court. Court holds the all-time record for highest number of major titles.