For Serena Williams, the chase has been long. She's been one Grand Slam win behind Margaret Court's all-time record for 44 months, ever since winning the 2017 Australian Open while pregnant. In four Slam finals since—two at Wimbledon, two in New York—she's finished runner-up. But now, the 38-year-old, arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, is looking to end the longest major title drought of her career with her 24th Grand Slam win at the US Open in New York, per USA Today. And the coronavirus pandemic might help her out. Six of the top 10 players in the WTA rankings—including top seeds Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep, and defending champion Bianca Andreescu—have opted to sit out. That said, Williams, ranked third, is not expecting a cakewalk.
"There's no easy match. Everyone's playing great," she says, per the US Open website. Just last week, she blew a lead to lose to Greece's Maria Sakkari, the 22nd seed. Before that, she lost to American Shelby Rogers, who is ranked 93. But with just 15 matches under her belt in 2020—five since the tour resumed—Williams will be "much fitter and fresher than she usually is at this point in the year," per USA Today. She'll need to win seven matches, including her first against American Kristie Ahn, ranked 96th, which begins at 2pm Eastern on Tuesday. Victory in the tournament would mean more than a Grand Slam record. Williams would also take the crown for most US Open women's titles at seven, per AFP, and become the oldest player to win a Slam. She turns 39 next month. (Read more Serena Williams stories.)