Serena Williams takes a shot at Margaret Court as she reveals her regret at not beating Aussie legend’s grand slam record – and explains why her retirement will be VERY different to Ash Barty’s
- Former world No.1 has won 23 grand slams – one short of Court’s world record
- Williams said she should’ve won ’30-plus’ of tennis’s biggest titles in her career
- All-time great announced her retirement after US Open in magazine article
Serena Williams will be remembered as possibly the best women’s tennis player ever but she has revealed one missed opportunity will haunt her in retirement: not passing Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles.
The former world No.1 announced her time in the game will be up after the upcoming US Open in an article for Vogue magazine that also saw her come clean on missing the Australian legend’s mark by just one grand slam victory.
‘There are people who say I’m not the GOAT because I didn’t pass Margaret Court’s record of 24 grand slam titles, which she achieved before the ”open era” that began in 1968,’ she wrote.
The reference to the era is telling as prior to it beginning in 1968, professionals weren’t allowed to play amateurs at grand slams.
‘I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want that record. Obviously I do,’ Williams continued.
‘But day to day, I’m really not thinking about her. If I’m in a grand slam final, then yes, I am thinking about that record. Maybe I thought about it too much, and that didn’t help.
Williams celebrates winning the Australian Open in 2015. She believes she should have won ’30-plus’ grand slams in her glittering career
The American is all but certain to finish one title short of the record set by Aussie legend Margaret Court (pictured together with the Hopman Cup in 2016)
‘The way I see it, I should have had 30-plus grand slams,’ she continued. ‘I had my chances after coming back from giving birth. I went from a C-section to a second pulmonary embolism to a grand slam final. I played while breastfeeding. I played through postpartum depression.
‘But I didn’t get there. Shoulda, woulda, coulda. I didn’t show up the way I should have or could have. But I showed up 23 times, and that’s fine. Actually it’s extraordinary.
‘But these days, if I have to choose between building my tennis résumé and building my family, I choose the latter.’
Court, 80, won the Australian Open 11 times, the French Open five times, with three Wimbledon titles and five US Open victories, many of which came before the open era began.
Williams went on to point out a big difference between her decision to ‘evolve’ away from the game and Aussie former world No.1 Ash Barty’s shock decision to quit the game aged just 26.
‘I know that a lot of people are excited about and look forward to retiring, and I really wish I felt that way. Ashleigh Barty was number one in the world when she left the sport this March, and I believe she really felt ready to move on,’ she wrote.
‘Praise to these people, but I’m going to be honest. There is no happiness in this topic for me.
Not surpassing Court’s mark sounds likely to haunt Williams (seen here competing in the Canadian Open on Monday) in retirement
Williams went out of her way to point out Court won many of her 23 grand slams before the Open era began in 1968 and professionals were allowed to compete against amateurs
Reigning Australian Open champion Ash Barty has been completely at peace with her shock decision to retire – but Williams says she ‘hates’ being at a crossroads in her career
‘I know it’s not the usual thing to say, but I feel a great deal of pain. It’s the hardest thing that I could ever imagine.
‘I hate it. I hate that I have to be at this crossroads.’
Williams is not quitting immediately.
She’s currently playing in a tournament in Toronto, and actually just won her first match in 430 days on Monday after battling health issues for much of the past few seasons.
And as she revealed in her piece, the all-time great is still hopeful she can play at the US Open in New York later this month. She’s also committed to playing at next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati.