NEW YORK CITY, New York: World number one Serena Williams would become the oldest US Open women’s champion in the Open era if she defends her crown in the Flushing Meadows fortnight that begins today.
The 16-time Grand Slam singles champion, whose four US Open titles are two shy of Chris Evert’s Open-era career record, is a heavy favorite in the year’s final Grand Slam tournament.
If Williams wins the final, scheduled 18 days shy of her 32nd birthday, she would pass Australian Margaret Court to become the oldest US Open women’s winner. Court won the 1973 crown just 55 days past her 31st birthday.
“That would be great,” Williams said. “That’s not one thing I focus on and one thing I think about. I just think about how there are so many people in the competition and so many things I would like to do.”
Williams, whose first US Open title came in 1999 at age 17, would become the third-oldest such Grand Slam women’s champion, nine days younger than Britain’s Virginia Wade when she won at Wimbledon in 1977 and nearly two years behind Martina Navratilova, who won Wimbledon in 1990 at age 33.
“I have been able to keep up with the times,” Williams said. “I’m actually serving harder than I ever have in my career. The racquets are stronger and I’m more fit.
“I feel so good, so healthy, so vivacious every time I step on the court.”
Reigning French Open champion Williams has made the most of her celebrity on and off the court, she has played more matches in recent seasons than ever before.
“I feel great. I feel completely recharged,” Williams said. “To play more matches now later in my career than sooner, it’s interesting how good I feel.”
Some of the extra spring in her step comes because she lost in the final at Cincinnati two weeks ago to second-ranked Victoria Azarenka, the two-time Australian Open champion. AFP