French Open

History beckons for Serena in Paris

2016-06-04 06:33
Serena Williams (Getty)

Paris - Serena Williams can make tennis history in Paris on Saturday when a win over Garbine Muguruza in the French Open final would give her a 22nd Grand Slam title.

That would equal the Open-era record set by Steffi Graf in Paris 17 years ago and, with Wimbledon just around the corner, her claim to the "greatest-ever" would be hard to refute.

Williams though has been perplexingly out-of-sorts all week in the cold, damp conditions that have dogged Roland Garros and she sounded distinctly underwhelmed by the record prospect when asked about it following her semi-final win over Kiki Bertens.

"You know, if I get there it will be great. I guess you can say it took me a while to get to 18, considering, you know, I'm the only one on tour that had 18," she said.

"I guess it's how you look at it. The same with 21 and trying to get to another one. Nothing I can do about it. The only thing can I do is just play to win the tournament and that's it."

Williams, who at 34 would be the oldest winner of the French Open, at times looked unrecognisable in her last two matches against world number 60 Yulia Putintseva and 58 Bertens, sparking talk that she was either injured or ill.

But asked if she was suffering from a groin injury as suggested by retired former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli, who is working this year as a courtside TV interviewer, Williams replied flatly: "I heard she said that. I don't know. I'll have to ask her."

She then added: "Yeah I have had some issues, but, you know, it is what it is."

In contrast, Muguruzu, 12 years younger than the American champion, has breezily progressed into what will be her second Grand Slam final, dropping just one set along the way.

She lost in straight sets to Williams in last year's Wimbledon final, but believes that she has made progress since then, especially on the mental side of things.

"I have learned a lot how to control my emotions inside the court and outside the court," she said.

"I think it's very important, because sometimes it's not too good to show them or not controlling them. So, like, in a tournament like this you have to be very focused.

"It's very long. Even longer with this kind of weather that you have to wait a lot. Yeah, here I'm learning. Here just I'm putting everything into that and it's going well."- Score to settle -

Muguruza is the first Spanish woman to reach the final at Roland Garros since Conchita Martinez finished runner-up to Mary Pierce in 2000 and she will aim to become the first Spanish winner of a Grand Slam title since Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario in Paris in 1998.

Williams though has a score to settle having strong memories of her loss to Muguruza two years ago.

"I learned so much from that match," he said. "I hate to lose, but when I do, you know, I hope it was worth it. That match was definitely one of those that was kind of needed and worth it.

Read more on:    french open  |  serena williams  |  tennis

What To Read Next


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk


Which is your favourite Grand Slam of the year?

Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...


With the Absa Premiership in full swing, who will be crowned champions when all is said and done? Will Mamelodi Sundowns defend their title? Or can Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates or Bidvest Wits mount a serious challenge? Stay glued to Sport24 to find out!

Latest blogs

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.