Serena Williams has 'earned the right to play as long she wants'

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Serena Williams
Serena Williams

Chris Evert says that despite Serena Williams' struggles to add to her tally of Grand Slam titles, the American will go down in the history books as the greatest female player of all-time.

Williams, 39, has not won a major championship since the 2017 Australian Open and Evert admits the next generation of stars now believe they can get the better of the legendary American.

Yet despite her early exit at the French Open, Eurosport expert Evert believes there could still be moments of glory for Williams to savour in the final chapters of her career.

"She's been the greatest player, so far that's ever lived on the women's side, and she deserves our respect and she's earned our respect and she's earned the right to play as long she wants to play," stated Evert.

"I give her so much credit for still being in the game, for still trying, for still believing in herself, but it's just going to take I think a little more hard work, because of her age and because of the competition.

"The competition is not the competition that was there four or five years ago when she was dominating. It's so much better now. I would say it's pretty much like Andy Murray, I don't think anybody should criticise her for still being in the game because if this is what she wants.

"Her next big one looks like being the Australian Open and what does she do before then? She now goes home and thinks: Do I really want this? How much do I really want this? How much am I willing to work for this?

"Women players are only getting better. There are some really impressive players out here now that we didn't even know their names before the pandemic. And they're not intimidated by playing Serena anymore.

"Serena has to work twice more because of her age. She's 39, she has to work, I think, a little harder on her fitness. In saying that, to see the passion and the commitment that she has had until her 39 has been very inspiring and kudos to her.

"Serena has done things we never thought could ever have been done. Serena is a force of nature, you can't predict what she's going to do."

"This French Open wasn't the tournament I don't think she's going to win even if she was healthy," she added. "I just think with the conditions this heavy, she wasn't going to be sat out there and hit 10-12 balls against Simona Halep and just run down everything.

"Her power would have been a little diffused, and she needs that power. So, this is not the one I don't think she would have won. And what she does now is really the determining factor.

"It is getting tougher for her with each passing tournament now, but never write off Serena Williams."

- TEAMtalk media


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