Serena Williams will have to face reality and change a few things if she is to win another Grand Slam title, according to her coach, Patrick Mouratoglou.
Williams has amassed 23 Grand Slam titles in her illustrious career, one behind the all-time record held by Australia’s Margaret Court.
However, the 38-year-old has not won a major since January 2017, and was beaten by Qiang Wang in the third round of the just concluded Australian Open.
Williams had arrived Melbourne in decent form, having won the Auckland title- her first title as a mother- in the lead up to the tournament, but she turned in an off-colour performance against the inspired Wang to suffer her earliest exit in Melbourne since 2006. (She missed a few editions along the way).
Mouratoglou expressed surprise at Serena’s early exit in Melbourne, while admitting that she must “face reality” and “change a few things” if is to add to her Grand Slam collection.
“We didn’t expect at all to be losing so early, or to be losing at all,” Mouratoglou told the BBC.
“We have to accept the fact that it is not working… Maybe come back with a different angle, a different strategy and different goals so she can make it”.
“She does feel positive; she feels negative too because it is a failure when she doesn’t win a Grand Slam”.
“We have to face reality, but she is positive that she can make it otherwise she probably wouldn’t be on a tennis court anymore”.
“She believes she can make it and I believe it too. She’s not that far, but we have to change a few things.”
Serena’s most recent Grand Slam triumph at the 2017 Australian Open came while she was in the early phase of pregnancy. The American didn’t play again for over a year, but she was back on the tour in February 2018, just over five months after the birth of her daughter.
Since her return from maternity leave, Williams has come agonizingly close to equaling Court’s Grand Slam record, losing finals at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2018 and 2019.
Mouratoglou admits that he doesn’t know how many more chances Serena will get, but he is encouraged by the fact that she has been able to make four major finals since child birth.
“It’s difficult to know how many chances she will have, I don’t know how long she is going to be able to play, but being able to reach four Grand Slam finals says a lot about her level, and she’s not that far”.
“Her level is good enough but we have to understand what is going on and why she is not able to win one. There is a big difference between reaching a final and winning one.”