THE peak remains tantalisingly close for Serena Williams but negotiating the final incline to a recordequalling 22nd grand slam singles title is proving the trickiest of all.
American veteran Williams gets another chance to match Steffi Graf’s professional era benchmark at Wimbledon, having proved uncharacteristically vulnerable when it matters.
Had it not been for defeat by Germany’s Angelique Kerber in the Australian Open final and Garbine Muguruza at the same stage in Paris, 34-year-old
would have already passed Graf and would be set to tie Margaret Court’s all-time
record of 24.
Instead, it has all become a bit of a struggle. Add in her U.S. Open semi-final
defeat by Roberta Vinci last year when a calendar slam seemed in her pocket, there are doubts about her finishing skills – and her nerve.
Of the challengers, they come in two distinct categories. The power hitters such as Spain’s Muguruza, twice champion Petra Kvitova, ex- world number one and rising American Madison Keys. Sadly Victoria Azarenka withdrew with injury.
Then there are the scramblers like world number three Agnieszka Rad- wanska, Kerber and Simona Halep.
World number two Muguruza pushed her hard in last year’s final and overpowered her in the French Open final with a fearless display of attacking tennis.