Yesterday (Saturday 30 January), Serena Williams played in her seventh Australian Open final. She had not only won all six of her previous final appearances, but she had the opportunity to win more Australian Open titles than anyone in history. Having failed to win the US Open last year, and hence just miss out on the Grand Slam, Serena had looked very impressive in her previous rounds. But, she was denied her 22nd Major title (which would have equalled Steffi Graf’s record) by a relatively unknown German by the name of Angelique Kerber.It could not have started worse for Kerber, she lost the first seven points in the opening two games, but quickly turned things around and went on to win the first set 6-4. Serena won the second set 6-3, and in a tight third set it went all the way to a tense tenth game, which Kerber won to win the match and the championship.
With this year being an Olympic year, people were even talking of Serena winning a Grand Slam plus the Olympics, a “super Slam” maybe? But, with the Australian Open now lost, Serena clearly cannot now do that. However, it was nice to see her smiling in defeat. I suspect that the pressure she put on herself last year as the possibility of a Grand Slam progressed has now been replaced with a feeling of “if I stay fit, I will surpass Steffi, so why sweat it?”. Which is my feeling. She looks as fit as ever at 34, and if she does not injure herself there is no reason why she cannot play this year, next year and, who knows, maybe even into 2018. Surely, with 4 Majors every year, it is just a matter of time before she wins her 22nd, 23rd, 24th and…… who knows?