Is Serena’s aura of invincibility fading?
SHE has won Wimbledon six times and is the reigning champion, but Serena Williams is no guarantee to hold the gold plate aloft in two weeks.
The 34-year-old American is favourite for a seventh crown – she loves the grass after all – but having lost in the finals at the Australian and French Opens this year, maybe, just maybe, her aura of invincibility is just fading ... if a little.
She has had a decent year on the WTA circuit but those losses to Angelique Kerber in Melbourne and the rising star of women’s tennis, Garbine Muguruza, at Roland Garros will have given others chasing glory at the All England Club hope.
Williams still has the motivation to win more grand slams, sitting as she does just one behind Steffi Graf’s total of 22 major titles going into Wimbledon.
Muguruza is just one of a number of women waiting to take over Williams’ mantle and she will be a warm second favourite to add this crown to her first major success in Paris last month.
She reached the final last year, only to be stopped by Williams.
But having beaten the American in Paris, the 22-year-old Venezuelan-born Spaniard will be more confident of going better than her runner-up finish last year.
Muguruza has had some dips in form on the tour, losing seven times to players ranked outside the world’s top 40 in the year since making last year’s Wimbledon final.
The Spaniard knows that she has to improve those statistics if she is to continue her rise in the game.
“The best players are consistent,” she said. “There is no secret.
“You can’t be the best player if suddenly you play well and the next day you play badly.
“But it’s difficult to always perform well, to always go on the court and win and hit great shots. It takes a lot of time and a long learning process.”