This might be Serena’s last year, says Rennae Stubbs

Popular analyst and former doubles World No 1 Rennae Stubbs reckons this may be Serena Williams’ last year on the tennis tour

Serena Williams after exiting the Australian Open

Four-time doubles Grand Slam winner Rennae Stubbs claims this may be the last year on tour for former World No 1 Serena Williams.

The 23-time-Grand Slam champion has continued her pursuit of the illusive 24th Major after returning to the circuit from a maternity break in 2018. But Stubbs feels the 39-year-old will soon decide to end her long and illustrious career.

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“I don’t know this for a fact. Serena and I are very good friends, and we have not talked about this, so this might be complete speculation. I think this might be her last year,” Stubbs said during a segment on TennisOne.

“I think she really wants to try and put everything into it this year. I just don’t see her playing a lot more. One of the reasons is she has Olympia (Williams’ daughter), she’s ready to get on with the rest of her life.”

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Chasing 24

Williams had won the 2017 Australian Open title to overtake Steffi Graf’s Open Era record of 22 singles Major titles. Incidentally, that was the last event Williams played in before going on maternity leave.

Since returning a year later though, she’s managed to reach two US Open and two Wimbledon finals, but failed to win a single set.

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“This has gnawed at her, to win this 24th (Grand Slam title). But I think she’s also maybe at the point where it’s finally not going to define her. And I think she’s okay with that,” Stubbs added.

“As much as she wants to win it, a lot of us want her to get past that Margaret Court record. I think it’s just a joke that we moved the goalpost to even include that (Court’s Amateur Era titles). For me the record was always Steffi’s (Graff) in the Open Era.”

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Of Court’s 24 titles, 13 came in the Amateur Era of the sport – before 1968 – and 11 in the Open Era, where Williams has won more than any other player in the sport.

The American has also won 14 women’s doubles Grand Slam titles – all with elder sister Venus – and two in mixed.

Farewell at the Australian Open?

She hasn’t played since losing to Naomi Osaka in the semi-final of the Australian Open this year. While leaving court after that match, she stopped and waved at the crowd with a hand on her heart.

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It was a gesture that prompted the rumour that this indeed could be her last year.

Later when asked about it, she said: “I don’t know. If I ever say farewell, I wouldn’t tell anyone.”

She’s next scheduled to play at the Rome Masters followed by the French Open.