‘Greatest challenge’: Brutal truth about Serena Williams drama

Serena Williams’ heartbreaking announcement that injury has forced her to withdraw from the US Open has exposed a worrying truth for the 23-time grand slam singles champion.

The tennis world was left gutted after the 39-year-old revealed on Wednesday night that she hasn’t fully recovered from a hamstring injury and would not be participating at the US Open, starting next week.



Williams was forced to retire hurt in the first round at Wimbledon in June, and the latest setback is a cruel blow in her quest to equal Margaret Court’s all-time record.

The American superstar has been stranded one major short of Court’s record 24 grand slam singles titles for several years and the reality is that she will be 40 years old the next time she potentially has another crack at equalling it.




To put that brutal truth into perspective, Ken Rosewall was 37 when he became the oldest grand slam singles winner and 39 when he reached the 1974 US Open final.

For Williams to even make another grand slam final – let alone win it – she would have to defy history and Father Time.

The American star is already the oldest woman to win a grand slam singles crown, taking the 2018 Australian Open title at age 35 while pregnant before taking a year off to give birth to daughter Olympia.




She suffered a pulmonary embolism after delivery and was bed-ridden for six weeks but battled back to world-class form, reaching the 2018 and 2019 finals at Wimbledon and the US Open, and until now hadn’t missed a Grand Slam start since her motherhood hiatus.

Perhaps most tellingly, Williams failed to take a set in any of the four trophy matches, the last in New York just shy of her 38th birthday – making her the oldest female finalist in grand slam singles history.

“I feel like people can play longer,” Williams said at Wimbledon. “Technology has played a huge role in that – the way we view the game, the way we recover, the way our shoes are made, the way the equipment is made.


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