Serena Williams’ coach for the past seven years, Patrick Mouratoglou who has overseen her through 10 major title wins, is hopeful about her record-equalling 24th career Grand Slam singles win.
After her fourth major final defeat at the US Open earlier this year, Mouratoglou said in an interview with Sky Sports, that time was working for Williams as she played much better with each progressive Grand Slam, especially at the US Open where she played the best she had, do things she hadn’t done since her return.
Closing her last win at the Australian Open back in 2017, Williams has yet to repeat that feat despite reaching the fourth major Grand Slam final after returning from giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian.
The former world no.1 returned to the courts on December 20, 2017, with an exhibition match at the Mudabala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi a mere three months postpartum. Williams lost the first-ever women’s match to Jelena Ostapenko who secured her first Grand Slam at Roland Garros earlier that year.
The 2019 season began with a climb to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open, a match Williams lost out to Karolína Plíšková in a three-setter. She reached her second major final at the Wimbledon, after the US Open final 2018 which she lost in straight sets to Naomi Osaka. Williams lost to Simona Halep in straight sets.
Her third major final at the Canadian Open, she withdrew from the match during the first set against Bianca Andreesu but lost out to her in the US Open final subsequently.
Compared to the younger women playing against her, who were without a lot of experience playing Grand Slam finals, he said that Williams faces much higher pressure to win “for history” but she must learn to cope with that and re-construct her winning technique. Mouratoglou added he had complete faith that with time, Williams can regain her game.
Even when Williams suffered a huge blow when she twisted her right ankle and fell in the match against Petra Martic, Mouratoglou had full faith that it wouldn’t be a problem for her quarterfinal US Open match despite how “scary” the fall looked.
Williams proved him right when she beat Qiang Wang to reach the semi-finals and subsequently, the finals. When it comes to the preparation for such matches, Mouratoglou said that he used the same techniques to prepare her for all matches by “watching videos, preparing strategies and how her opponent generally wins a point”.
Eyeing a 24th Grand Slam victory to match Margaret Court’s record, Mouratoglou has been especially positive over social media, insisting that even reaching those four finals was an incredible success given that she is a new mother and 38 years of age.
He is confident that Williams, the “ultimate champion”, will continue to fight her way to make history and never give up.