One season ends and before you know it another begins. For the first time in quite a long time Serena Williams will pitch up at Melbourne as world number two. The American has been crowned champion down under 6 times in her career and now the former world number returns but how vital is success for Serena?
Tennis moves quite quickly, one year ago Serena is world number one, unstoppable and chasing history now. One word to describe her this time last year? Unstoppable and right now fragile is the word I’d probably use.
2016 was a year where we saw what we could call a changing of the guard. Serena only participated in eight tournaments throughout the season and hasn’t featured since the US Open but is due to play in the IPTL this winter ahead of the first major of 2017.
Injury has been a big issue throughout the season. Shoulder and knee injuries have been bad for her having withdrawn from a number of tournaments and in some of her defeats you can see the effect her shoulder has had on her serve which is usually untouchable but has opened up.
Injuries are a part of sport and as you get older they will be more frequent. The quality and experience is still there for Serena but if she can hopefully shake off these injuries then the door is still open for her to clinch that number one spot.
Instant success will be difficult. In the real world you have to find your feet again on the tour after so long without playing competitive tennis but you just know an early exit will lead to more stories of Serena’s dominance being over at the top of the game but it’s never over until it’s over.
Like I said at the beginning of the piece tennis moves quite quickly but Serena is still there and hungry for more. I was pleased to hear her say after withdrawing from Singapore that qualifying for the end of season championships is her target for next year.
Success isn’t just about winning but also overcoming hurdles but now she faces her biggest hurdle to get back to the top of women’s tennis!