Serena Williams is a Survivor of the First Retirement in Tennis

Serena Williams is a Survivor of the First Retirement in Tennis

How Serena Williams’ former coach brought Simona Halep back from the brink of tennis retirement with a bold, unconventional tactic

For Serena Williams, the two years since the Australian Open win in January 2018 left her facing the prospect of retirement. Yet for the most part her recent dominance at the top of the game had made her feel invincible.

The only player in the history of tennis, who has won three majors more than her closest rivals in a season, has shown no signs of succumbing to the debilitating effect of age, disease or injury.

At 28, Williams has already won seven grand slam titles and an Olympic gold medal, while the only players to win a major championship since 2000 with exactly the same number of wins are Marat Safin, Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters.

Simona Halep made no secret about her belief that Williams would retire sooner rather than later. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

But like countless other women who have tasted the joys of professional tennis, Williams has now come close to losing her status. She has never faced a comparable situation to where she might not be able to sustain her level for a full season.

The next five months will be critical if she hopes to keep playing the way she is. The world will be watching to see how she responds to a different approach from Halep.

The Italian was the first woman to win a Grand Slam title in 18 years, breaking the record set by Steffi Graf in 1991. Yet the signs were there, too, following the triumph at Indian Wells, when Williams appeared to have run out of gas.

After having won 11 match points in the second set against the former US Open champion Sam Stosur, she looked to become the victim of the first retirement in the history of tennis, losing the set 7-5.

On the court, it looked like she was a little rattled by Stosur’s power, but there may have been something more fundamental to her upset than the physical power of her rival.

The former world number one has always been very vocal on social media, often expressing her dislike for the format where men and women compete in singles tournaments.

“I just

Leave a Comment